Eastern University is a comprehensive Christian university located in the beautiful leafy Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia — and they needed a website that more efficiently supported their programs and initiatives across a vibrant, connected, and inclusive community of learners.
Prior iterations of the eastern.edu site had always featured an abundance of hidden gems of great information, but had faced challenges with a dated look, duplicate content and navigation, inconsistent user experience, and a lack of modern features. In short, the client wanted a website that went beyond a “good enough” online presence to one that was truly great.
Having worked with the Eastern team for several years on a variety of marketing initiatives that include a :30 cable television ad as well as other traditional, digital, transit, and outdoor advertising media, in addition to related print collateral, we were well-positioned to take on a full redesign of their online identity. Our overarching goal was to make content more accessible with intuitive navigation primarily targeted to the journey of prospective students but also for currently enrolled students, parents, and other valued stakeholders.
In designing the new sitemap, we started by retaining most of their existing menu structure since it was successfully meeting their needs, then leveraging user testing and stakeholder input to make substantive improvements in the organization of content and search features.
Utilizing Drupal's component-based structure, we created a powerful and flexible content management system and in the process reduced the number of content template types from over 80 on the old site to just eight. Repurposing these established components, we created a unique marketing landing page template that makes it easy for the Eastern team to create and deploy promotional campaigns on an as-needed basis to meet their ongoing strategy needs.
One of the true highlights of the project was creating a more effective Majors and Programs Finder that allows prospective students to navigate information on the 160 traditional and online programs offered by the college, including associate, bachelor's, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. The simple and user-friendly design of this tool offers multiple search criteria options and clear paths for easily digging deeper into programs and academic areas of interest.
We also created a new hub for News & Events that didn’t exist on the prior site, a new section for longer “evergreen” University content, and a landing page and archive for the biannual publication Eastern Magazine. In addition to a video tour that encourages visitors to “Visit Eastern in 192 seconds from anywhere in the world,” we incorporated videos on the homepage that bring student stories to life — featuring embedded buttons that direct viewers to relevant areas for more information.
With a full migration all of their existing content in place, drop-down and full menus allow visitors to navigate easily to anywhere on the site, with an emphasis on streamlining the process for students navigating via mobile devices.
By implementing editor roles with varying permissions, we positioned Eastern’s web team to easily and securely manage their university-wide team of content editors — and by integrating social media feeds directly into the CMS, we reduced the overall time and effort their staff will spend managing social content going forward.
In the end, this new modern site accurately captures the client’s brand aesthetics, empowers their web team to work smarter and more efficiently, and communicates to prospective students what makes this future-focused and faith-based community a truly unique place to live and learn.