There are two pillars of commitment that define every initiative at King University: academics and faith. Our job was to help them communicate that message loud and clear via the design and development of a new digital experience.
Located on a sprawling campus in Bristol, TN, this Presbyterian-affiliated university offers a variety of contemporary undergraduate degrees. And while their team has always strived to communicate the value of their offerings, recent changes signaled the need to engage more effectively with their target market and provide a compelling experience through their primary communication channel, the university website.
The goal of the King team was to amplify efforts to emphasize its value proposition to prospective students: an academically rigorous yet affordable education on a beautiful campus offering meaningful relationships with faculty, flexible course formats, and a commitment to tradition and excellence.
Eager to tackle this challenge, we started with a content audit and review of functionality, rankings and review sites, social media, and select competitors’ websites, then gathered additional insight through a questionnaire to King’s primary and secondary audiences — which include current and prospective undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Our findings confirmed that prospective students are typically drawn to King from a religious upbringing, inspired to grow academically, professionally, and spiritually as they move through their college years. They also desire authenticity, a generous amount of visuals, and immediate answers when visiting higher education sites. Finally, discovery uncovered that target audiences had been visiting the existing website on a regular basis in search of specific information, but didn’t feel prompted to explore further — and alumni, faculty, and staff, in particular, felt they needed more opportunities to feel pride in being part of the King community.
Working collaboratively with a nationally recognized admissions marketing agency that King had engaged for their promotional efforts, we used an agile, sprint-focused process to take the King team through a full-scale redesign of the site that essentially started from scratch. Working on the WordPress platform, we created a framework of accessible design components that allows a consistent user experience across the site for their different audiences, the integration of appealing and engaging imagery and video, as well as flexibility for site managers to deliver ongoing clear and relevant content. Not only does the new site emphasize King’s value message, but also delivers more organized content through a new sitemap that offers more efficient pathways. With the flexible framework and migrated existing content in place, we trained their team of site administrators on how to manage and maintain the site going forward.
Given the fact that the university offers programs for various audiences across different campuses as well as online, we created an interactive Program Finder that now helps students select their area of interest and easily explore offerings by specific location or modality.
In the end, the deeply informative new site guides viewers intuitively based on their need for specific information, while also prompting them to dive deeper to learn all there is to know about this appealing academic- and faith-based university.