Carson-Newman College has long held a stellar reputation for being an upstanding spiritual and community leader. Now they are taking that fight to the web with the launch of a brand new website.
Carson-Newman faced the common struggle plaguing many colleges and universities: complexity. It's a nearly unmanageable problem that boils over onto the world-wide web. Yes, in many ways the internet has made disseminating information easier; but as more information is given, the challenge becomes how to keep organized - particularly when addressing multiple audiences such as students, donors, alumni & athletic fans.
What Carson-Newman needed was a totally re-vamped web presence that would allow them to truly cater to their target demographics. Their biggest concern was allowing multiple departments to administrate different aspects of their website, while still maintaining their brand throughout.
Overcoming the first challenge was a relatively easy one. Despite the incredible man-hours involved in completely rebuilding a college or university website in another programming language, it's more a problem of time, energy and resources than anything else. But how do you keep all of your information relevant? Our suggestion: keep the audience in mind and only show them relevant information.
Colleges and universities have to speak to diverse audiences with distinctively different needs. Prospective students need to be able to easily access information about student life, academic programs, financial aid and more. Current students, however, need to explore majors and classes, chart the course of their education, access library and IT information, and work with administrative offices like Financial Aid and the Registrar's office.
Once we discovered the people we were speaking to and what they cared about, it was time to go to work. Human communication is a problem all its own. Organization is often the key: assembling bits of information in the proper sequence so that everything makes sense and meaning is conveyed.
For Carson-Newman, that meant a complete re-visioning of their site's navigation. A beautiful, full screen, daily-changing home page now greets visitors and keeps the site fresh each day. From that home page, viewers can navigate according to either their role as future student, current student, faculty or alumni. If they would like to take a more task-based approach to finding information, then they can choose to browse from categories like academics, administration, admissions, athletics or auxiliary services.
Dynamic, sticky bread-crumb navigation allows site users to orient themselves while on any page of the website. No more random in-page links leading you to a digital dead-end like some kind of nightmare Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book.
Having fully organized a strategy for tackling the daunting organizational task of creating such a monumental website, things got down to brass tacks. Tactical decisions were made like how to realistically implement and manage such a wide-spread system in an administrative environment. There were hundreds of admins, but many had never made changes to a website before. With our proprietary Hands On™ Content Management System, editing was a breeze for everyone. If they could use a Microsoft Word Document, then they could edit their page. Everyone was happy.
Multi-level administrative controls currently allow administrators to access their pages and monitor content. By making updating easier than ever, the Carson-Newman site is sure to stay fresh and relevant for years to come. And visitors win by quickly and easily finding the content they want.
Winner: Carson-Newman vs. Informational Disorganization & Confusion - A solid victory for administrators, viewers & users everywhere!