mStoner provided a series of deliverables that set the stage for how we’ll build a new website that addresses our internal needs and exceeds user expectations.
Recommendations for Improvement
The following reports are mStoner’s recommendations for how to proceed with web management. Additional input will be gathered from the project team, Marketing Council and others before committing to these recommendations.
- The Technical Recommendations Report summarizes the tools and technologies to be involved in the web relaunch. Technologies under consideration include a website search appliance, event calendar, web forms, directory information, and emergency alerts.
- The Analytics Goals Report offers a framework for how we could measure project success, with specific measures yet to be determined.
- The Website Governance Model proposes a new governance model with different levels of management and support. Subsequent documents will provide recommendations on policies and procedures, training and support structures, staffing, and a communication plan.
Sizing Up the Competition
In addition to assessing our current website, mStoner conducted an analysis of our competitor sites including North Dakota State University, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, University of Minnesota – Duluth, Concordia College, and University of St. Thomas – Minnesota. The University of Nebraska – Lincoln was reviewed as an aspirational example. Each site was evaluated based on:
- Academic program finder functionality
- Approach to information architecture
- Creative and interactive features
- Level of immersion or engagement
- Mobile optimization
- Overall feel and personality of the site (brand)
None of the competitor sites achieved success on all levels. mStoner concluded we have a significant opportunity to surpass our competitors by developing a new website that combines modern design and a user-centered, responsive experience with clear, straightforward information architecture and a robust approach to helping students learn about academic programs.
The project team, Marketing Council and others will provide input on these deliverables as needed. The discovery phase will conclude by June 2017.