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Site Design, Usability & Architecture

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Mobile Websites
Good Question Does CASE have any recommendations or best practices for developing a mobile website and samples from institutions that have already done so?

Consider This When Rebuilding Your Website
Advancement Weekly Article When rebuilding your organization's website, is your first reaction terror or excitement? In either case, the task is huge—but it can be tamed, according to one digital marketing manager.

By the Numbers: Post Modern
CURRENTS Article How do you connect thoroughly wired students to an ancient art form? With technology, of course. Located within the Coast Salish Nation, the British Columbia Institute of Technology commissioned a totem-like house post for the atrium of its Gateway building. The house post is a tribute to the Coast Salish people and part of an effort to recruit more aboriginal students, who make up just 7 percent of the student body. An etched copper QR code is attached to the post, which is a stop on campus tours. Scanning the QR code—one of only a few forms of technology that can be handmade to connect to digital space—opens a website that serves as digital storytelling for prospective students.

Save Prospective Applicants from Hitting a Wall
CURRENTS Article How a website looks and functions affects how people perceive and interact with businesses and organizations. User experience matters. Here's how Friends' Central School in Pennsylvania became more responsive to prospective families' needs by focusing on how those families interacted with the school's website.

Make Your Institution Easier to Find on the Web
Article,  BriefCASE Article Marketers should invest in search engine optimization to entice prospective students and their families to learn more about their institutions via everyday web browsing, says a CASE faculty member.

Plan an Engaging Foundation Website
Article,  Community College News Article A well-designed community college foundation website should attract, retain and nurture donors, says a design consultant.

Redesigning a Community College Website
Article,  Community College News Article Community college leaders should involve faculty and staff when planning an overhaul of their institution’s website, say an advancement director and a web manager.

How Institutions Can Give Their Homepages Purpose
Article,  BriefCASE Article Institutions that are planning to update their website’s homepage must first determine a purpose for it—and then defend those goals, says a higher ed content strategist.

All in the Hamily
CURRENTS Article This feature article looks at how Hamilton College developed its own moderated social media platform, The Scroll, which relies heavily on user-generated content to engage its audiences in authentic, lively, and uncensored conversations that represent and embolden the New York institution's brand.

Websites Playing Increasing Role in Students’ Choice of College, University
Article,  BriefCASE Article A new study of college-bound juniors and seniors finds that 50 percent of surveyed students say the web plays an extremely important or significant role in their evaluation of a campus.

Atrévete a Ser el Primero [Dare to Be First]
CURRENTS Article The University of Delaware launched a website in Spanish in November 2011. This online foray into another language is an important step in the institution's continuing globalization and its goal to develop a more diverse campus community.

Good Question Does CASE have resources that discuss best practices for designing infographics? What about examples of infographics created for advancement purposes?

From Neglected to Connected: Reinventing Your Institution's News Site
Article,  BriefCASE Article When Tufts University decided to revamp its news site, it first looked to see what other institutions were doing. It turns out there were very few higher education role models—and a lot of fake storefronts.

Core Communications
CURRENTS Article In this article, three communications professionals from San Diego State University, Hamilton College, and Michigan State University, respectively, describe the processes their campuses went through in redesigning their websites and the issues they had to address, including content management systems, accessibility for people with disabilities, what should be included on the home page and why, and training campus site editors to maintain site consistency as well as ease of use.

Advance Work: Word Play
CURRENTS Article Educational institutions should consider adding video captioning to their online multimedia content. Captioning not only helps users who are hard of hearing, but it also increases Web searchability.

Advance Work: Optimize Primer
CURRENTS Article As SEO becomes a larger part of communications and marketing, institutions need to reevaluate their own Web sites.

Office Space: Show Don't Tell
CURRENTS Article In such a crowded digital world, institutions' Web pages need to be the providers of fresh and interesting content.

"Satisfied" Web Site Visitors More Likely to Donate, Volunteer
Article,  BriefCASE Article Nonprofits have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to their Web sites.

Complete Institutional Web Sites: Virginia Tech - Bronze Medal
Best Practice In fall 2005, Virginia Tech initiated a Web redevelopment project to coincide with its new "Invent the Future" branding initiative. The offices of University Relations and IT partnered on the project, which was led by a newly established Web Communications group within University Relations.

Individual Sub-Web Sites: University of Colorado at Boulder - Silver Medal
Best Practice In June 2006, the University of Colorado at Boulder Web Communications staff launched a Web site for the Beza Mahafaly Lemur Biology Project. Featuring the work of client and lemur expert Dr. Michelle Sauther, the educational and research site was designed for a wide variety of audiences, from academic researchers to K-12 students.

Complete Institutional Web Sites: McGill University - Silver Medal
Best Practice The redesign of (launched August 23, 2006) was undertaken with the objective of providing users (students, teachers, staff and the public) with a bilingual site in English and French that is easier to navigate, employs a more pleasing design, allows easier access to more information, and delivers stronger consistent McGill branding.

Individual Sub-Web Sites: National University - Silver Medal
Best Practice The National University Institute for Wellness and Peak Performance's San Diego 6 site promoted a healthy lifestyle for children. A complement to the San Diego 6 children's TV show, the site offered podcasts, recipes, exercise information, health news and video games. The playful-by-design site featured six students ages 9-12 and a young mentor as they explored various health topics of interest to young people. It stressed the positive values of being outdoors, eating right and exercising.

Individual Sub-Web Sites: University at Buffalo/SUNY - Bronze Medal
Best Practice The University at Buffalo/SUNY created a Web site to announce and mark a historic three-day campus visit by the 14th Dalai Lama.

Complete Institutional Web Sites: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) - Silver Medal
Best Practice As the truest front door to campus, the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Web site is a key means of furthering the institution’s communications goals, including the brand. IUPUI's new site does this in new and engaging ways, while enhancing usability, accessibility, and the level of information available on the site.

Web Usability
CURRENTS Article Now that campuses have sophisticated web sites and are using content management systems, are Web sites doing what campuses want them to do? Does the site work? This seeks to answer these questions by examining examines the concept of Web usability. It describes a quick and easy exercise for testing and evaluation and why and how it works. It also looks at the advancement-IT relationship and how communications and marketing professionals can and should be a part of Web usability tests.

AdvanceWork: Black and White and Raspberry All Over
CURRENTS Article Campus designers should consider color trends when looking to update campus logos or create publications. Using a new generation of colors can help communicate to younger students and even help attract enrollees. Hot colors include lime green and retro shades such as pink and turquoise. Designers can tone them down for other audiences.

AdvanceWork: Caging the Cardinal
CURRENTS Article Stanford University constituents seeking information about campus activities need look no further than the Web, thanks to the efforts of several Office of Communications staffers. In May 2003, these campus communicators launched, an online events calendar that details campus activities in more than a dozen categories. The site is the winner of a 2004 CASE Circle of Excellence Silver Award.

AdvanceWork: Sorry, Charlie!
CURRENTS Article Web site error messages don't have to be unfriendly and ugly. Savvy Web designers and editors will replace "404: Not Found" with text that helps Web site users find what they're looking for and an appearance that resembles the rest of the site.

Tech Support: Click to Proceed
CURRENTS Article Event planners and Web staff should ensure that online registration forms for advancement events are as simple, easy to use, and interactive as possible.

AdvanceWork: Drawing Attention
CURRENTS Article An idea of interest to Web and design staff comes from Simon Fraser University, where the external relations office has made its Web site more appealing and personal by including watercolor sketches of each staff member.

Form Follows Function
CURRENTS Article Barnard College found that the best way to approach redesigning its Web site was to divide responsibility for specific functions--PR, academic, administrative--among the various departments that had already established operations in these areas. The article lists different approaches to institutional Web sites, notes users’ expectations, outlines important principles, and describes how Barnard carried out the redesign process.

AdvanceWork: Internet Disconnect
CURRENTS Article The "most wired" colleges don't always have state-of-the-art Web sites

Tech Support: Come One, Come All
CURRENTS Article Make your Web pages accessible to those with disabilities while you prepare for emerging technologies

AdvanceWork: Testing, Testing, 1-2-3
CURRENTS Article As Web Editor Missy DeYoung set out to redesign Drake University's World Wide Web site, she realized that she needed a quick and inexpensive way to survey regular users on possible site enhancements.

Call in the Experts
CURRENTS Article This article discusses issues associated with alumni organizations hiring outside vendors to design alumni organization Web sites. First, know the total cost of a vendor, including annual maintenance fees and start-up fees. Second, understand that a vendor will bring convenience, expertise, and possible delays to the Web site design process. Third, hire a vendor that recognizes the organization’s need for security and privacy. To conclude, five simple suggestions are offered to those alumni organizations that decide to hire a vendor: assess your needs; consider your options; know what you want; use good business sense; and talk with colleagues. Includes a sampling of online vendors that offer services for alumni.

In Advance: Technology vs. Reality
CURRENTS Article The real deal on eight common misconceptions about hardware and software

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