Complete Institutional Web Sites: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) - Silver Medal

Category 10A: Web Sites – Complete Institutional Web Sites
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Campus Web Site

Contact: Steve Hodges, electronic media manager, Office of Communications and Marketing, 355 North Lansing St., A0136, Indianapolis, IN 46202, Phone: (317) 274-7711, e-mail:

Overview: As the truest front door to the campus, the IUPUI Web site is a key means of furthering the institution’s communications goals. Our primary goal is to communicate the institution’s brand: a sophisticated, urban campus engaged in research in the health and life sciences, meaningful civic engagement, and the leading educator of graduate and professional students in the state.

The new IUPUI campus Web site communicates the institution’s brand in new and engaging ways, while enhancing usability, accessibility, and the general level of information available on the site.

The project touched over 200 unique Web pages, including the campus homepage at Highlights of the project include a new visual design, the introduction of new media to numerous pages, highly accessible code, optimization for print and handheld devices, fresh copy and photography, and Web 2.0 features such as RSS feeds and video podcasts.


  • Provide a stronger vehicle for delivering communications goals of the institution.
  • Weave the institutions brand throughout the campus Web site, utilizing more intentional copy, photography, and new media
  • Meet the needs of the audiences visiting the website in the areas of content and usability
  • Differentiate IUPUI from other campuses in the marketplace.
  • Provide more “flex-space” on the website for placement of announcements and campus messaging, so the new website is easier to adapt to changes and to “live with”
  • Enhance opportunities for other campus units to promote their initiatives on the highest-traffic pages on the Web site
  • Be on the cutting edge of use of new media, including video, podcasts, RSS feeds, and other technology
  • Be a role model for other campus and statewide system departments as the Indiana University Integrated Image Initiative matures
  • Continue to develop a backend for the Web site that encourages automation and consistency of content and messages across campus websites

Audience: Primary audiences for this project were determined by a combination of institutional goals and analysis of which audiences actually utilize the Web site.

  • Current students make up just over 50 percent of traffic to the campus homepage, and current faculty and staff are the second largest group of homepage visitors. These users primarily utilize the Web site as a portal to e-mail, course management systems, events calendars, and a variety of departmental Web sites. A key goal was increasing usability for these visitors. As our institution’s best salespeople, it is critical that they can tell its story. Thus, enhancement of reputation management initiatives was another key goal of the redesign.
  • Prospective students are a key audience for the campus. Our primary goal in recruiting is to increase applications and enrollment of high-achieving students. A revamped “Future Students” section included more content targeted to this audience.

    Student interviews placed throughout the “Future Students” section are designed to appear raw and unvarnished, making the message more palatable to the audience. The videos communicate in a way blog posts cannot, in a manner more similar to a campus tour guide than a written brochure.
  • Consideration for persons with disabilities and users of handheld devices and other alternative web viewers resulted in the project’s heavy emphasis on valid, modern code. The separation of content and layout was a major step forward in improving our service to these audiences.

Graphic Design: The graphic design is not the most vital aspect of a website, though it is certainly important. The chosen design was intended to convey the personality of the campus: sophisticated, urban, and distinct.

On the homepage, large areas of screen real estate deliver brand messaging in a compelling and very dramatic presentation. To support that messaging, the design provided options for featuring a steady influx of new videos, campus news, and an active events calendar.

Use of available resources: The project was completely produced in-house by the IUPUI Office of Communications & Marketing. The New Media Team within Communications & Marketing did all production work and design.

Staff Time:
Steve Hodges, Electronic Media Manager
Strategic planning, audience and competitive analysis, graphic design, video direction, Flash design, Web site buildout, interactive application design, photo editing, Web writing

Michelle Werner, Web Specialist
Web site buildout

Shawn Plew, Web Specialist
HTML/CSS design, Web site buildout

Scott Chevalier, Campus Webmaster
Website buildout

Ric Burrous, Web writer
Profile authoring, copy writing, proofing

Other Resources: All photography was pulled from the office’s photo archive, which contains over 10,000 photos newer than three-years old. All photos in the archive are shot by professional photographers and high-resolution, allowing for maximum consistency between print, web, and other media.

Several new videos were produced utilizing the team’s existing video production equipment. Some video produced for other projects, such as television commercials and other Web projects, was repurposed as b-roll and full interviews for the new Web site.

Plan for evaluation: Web statistics will be evaluated regularly to look for trends and evaluate whether changes are utilized as expected. Each video added to the site is tracked individually, and that data will be reviewed and provide some direction for the development of future videos.

The effectiveness of the website in regards to communications goals will best be judged by our traditional market research.

Response and/or results: The Web site had been extremely well received on campus. Dozens of messages were submitted through the campus website and e-mail from current undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, campus administration, faculty, and staff. Response was overwhelmingly positive, generally commenting on how well the site reflected the personality of the campus, or how much easier certain content was to find. Some feedback sent to the Webmaster:

“I just wanted to tell the Web team that the new homepage and Web site are absolutely amazing! I can’t say enough good things about the new look and functionalities… I love the new dark background colors and layout. This site rivals the sites of many internationally renowned universities” - Graduate student and self-professed “fortune 500 employee”

”I opened up the Internet this evening, and when my homepage loaded, I was floored. VERY IMPRESSIVE. The new design looks great and I think it’s very easy to use”
- Undergraduate Student

“It’s so sophisticated – I absolutely love it!” - Graduate student

Anecdotal evidence suggests that, in the few months since the site launch, key campus messages communicated on the homepage have already gained momentum, appearing in other interviews and discussions with students as well as speeches from faculty and administration.

The Web site was recognized in February 2007 as a Gold Award winner in the 22nd Annual Admissions Advertising Awards, in the Internet/Worldwide Web Site category for schools with 20,000 or more students.