Why should students choose your school? That’s the fundamental question that all .edu websites should answer — and the place where many fall short.
It was certainly the goal for Fairleigh Dickinson (FDU), the largest private university in New Jersey with additional campuses in Oxfordshire, England, and British Columbia, Canada, and more than 11,000 part- and full-time students in all.
The FDU team wanted their website to become a key communication tool and integral component of their marketing strategy, rather than a secondary consideration, as it had been in the past.
Key insights gathered through a thorough discovery process revealed that we needed to consolidate the content of several existing sites into one seamless experience that effectively conveys to prospective students and parents FDU’s core pillars of value: personal attention, global perspective, and transformative experiences. However, the intent was not to provide a one-way flow of information to these audiences; rather, it was to encourage and allow them to provide relevant information back to FDU, as well. Other overarching goals were creating a design strategy that keeps accessibility and the needs of mobile users a top priority.
The new WordPress site we created now boasts streamlined information architecture and a clean and contemporary design that provides prospective students with a clear picture of the university’s value proposition, the programs offered, the various campus opportunities, and a simple path to applying. By clarifying which information applies to the entire university while providing paths to campus-specific information, as well as showcasing success stories of current students, recent graduates, and alumni, the new site illustrates the many different paths and outcomes that can be achieved with an FDU education.
Universal navigation and clear content labeling and grouping also offer secondary audiences — including current students, staff, faculty, and alumni — easy access to a variety of content they need regularly, like campus information, program descriptions, events, and technology resources. And by nature, these changes improved the related experience for tertiary audiences, like athletics staff, accreditation agencies, employers, and potential partners.
Going forward, the new site will continue to serve as a valuable resource and marketing and communication tool that positions FDU as an accessible, yet high-caliber institute of higher education.