The College recently unveiled a new look and content to its website. Viewers noticed vivid colors that reflect the College’s Cardinal spirit, easy “go to” buttons on the homepage, and photos and features throughout the site that communicate stories about North Central’s student and faculty accomplishments, campus life, news, majors and programs, and events.
“We determined early on that the key viewers of our website are prospective students and that includes high school teens, parents and those looking at graduate school,” says Jim Godo, assistant vice president for marketing and communications. “We wanted our site to really connect with them. That meant having fresh and interesting content; clear descriptions of our majors, minors and programs; real-life stories of our students, faculty and alumni; and flexibility to add new media whenever and wherever we want.”
Godo says this is only the first phase of the new design. More areas will be programmed and incorporated over the next 12 months. Pleased with the launch so far, he’s especially excited about the site’s ability to communicate news where prospective students naturally look for it. “Our strategy has been to place and publish content across the site and to do it efficiently.”
There were other reasons behind the new design and structure, says Kathy Wilders, assistant vice president for information technology services. “The content management system we were using just wasn’t flexible and we wanted to be in a position to make very unique changes quickly, adapt with new technologies and do things we wanted. As a result, we’ve adopted an open-source software called Drupal that’s very popular with colleges.”
One benefit to using Drupal, says Wilders, is the ability to marry the College’s events calendar system throughout the website. As events are publicized, they’re tagged to automatically appear at designated places throughout the site, eliminating duplicate human effort. Editing content and including videos are much easier too.
Upgrading to Drupal was possible, says Wilders, because of her staff’s capabilities. “We can handle this; we’re staffed to program, adapt and maintain this type of project.” She explains that Drupal is a free software. No one owns it, but users like the College are free to develop it as they want and share modules they create. Her staff has developed the software to fit the College’s needs now and for the future.