Maybe it’s a coincidence that we completed a re-branding effort with eleven of our twelve college websites around the same time that the new Beaver Athletics brand was launched. Like that effort, this project was a long time in the making. Three years, in our case.
The colleges that opted to work with us, beginning with Forestry, partnered to build custom templates and move their sites into Drupal (if they weren’t already). It was a long project that involved graphic design, development, content reorganization, video production, feature story creation, user testing and more. Central Web Services was a big part of the effort. In the middle, it felt like we weren’t ever going to get there. But with the launch of the University Honors College a few weeks ago, we’ve checked our final participating college off of the list.
Why it matters
Having our colleges in a similar template and technology has a host of benefits. The sites can talk to one another (and our home page and top-tier sites) on a technological level. Drupal features can be shared and integrated. The user experience is similar, and students, faculty and the public can navigate each site in similar ways, speeding up their visit as they don’t need to learn a new navigation system or structure on each site. The consistent branding and identity usage reaffirms their connection to each other and to the main campus. Advertising and marketing centrally and at each individual college will lift all ships with the tide. Each college now as more opportunities to collaborate with other colleges: the architecture being the same means they can share staff, stories, RSS feeds and more.
Even though these eleven colleges are on a similar platform, there’s still work to do. We need to help make the sites responsive in order to prepare them for the coming mobile majority. We need to work with them to create more effective practices and content to help turn their sites into better communications tools. There are still loose ends to tie up and more to accomplish.
But we’ve reached a great milestone, and congrats to all of our college partners, our team members and the CWS folks for an incredible, long-term collaboration.