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More than a fresh coat of paint

Academic-department homepages get a face-lift – and a better interface to connect prospective students with information.

By Cory Phare

March 11, 2019

An employee working on a computer open to MSU Denver websiteAn initiative from Cathy Lucas, MSU Denver chief of staff and vice president of strategy, the Department Homepage Revision Project standardized the look and functionality of academic-department websites by following a branded template approach for redesign to promote University awareness, improve search-engine optimization and support student recruitment.

Select elements of the update include faculty, staff and alumni spotlights; highlighted programs and points of pride; and a hero image appropriate to each individual department.

“This was a large project and could not have been completed without the input and cooperation of everyone involved,” Lucas said.

The digital team from Strategy, Marketing and Communications began by meeting with department chairs and web authors. Information gathered from these conversations, combined with outcome-based content analysis, web-usage analytics and industry best practices, led to bespoke program development by Kyle Bisio, web-content specialist.

“Previously, there was no consistency across the different academic-department pages,” Bisio said. “It was pertinent to get everyone on the same page and have a web presence reflect unity to help with marketing efforts and boost enrollments, while still providing each department autonomy.”

And though this phase of the redesign endeavor formally wrapped as of Dec. 15, Bisio noted the connections forged will facilitate ongoing improvements. 

“The web is always subject to change,” he said. “We will continue using a handful of tools – such as Google Analytics and Siteimprove – to build on these relationships and optimize content so people searching for specific degree programs find us first.”

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Topics: Academics

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