We’ve been knocking a few holes in the drywall around here. You probably noticed.
Generally speaking, when an organization upgrades its website, they focus on just one element of the process:
- Refresh the design for a new look, feel and functionality
- Address strategic changes, like what they’re trying to accomplish with the website or how information is structured and organized
- Revise content to better address their audience needs or reflect new messaging
- Implement new processes that clarify roles and workflows throughout the organization
Here at Hope, we’re doing all of the above. Yes, it’s taken some time — a lot of time — but we’re doing more than picking out paint samples and changing out the drapes.
We’re changing the way Hope College communicates online.
Hope.edu Website Development Timeline:
- March 2011: Launch of new Hope College brand.
- September 2011: Launch of hope.edu interim microsite in Drupal.
- Spring 2013: Chose new college-wide enterprise level content management system (CMS), OU Campus by OmniUpdate.
- July 2013: Launched a new interactive campus map with CampusBird.
- July 2013: Launched the new Hope College Blog Network in WordPress.
- August 2013: Launched new Athletics website with PrestoSports.
- September 2013: Selected new website design partner, Mighty in the Midwest.
- October 2013: Conducted web design focus groups & open forums, including more than 150 faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, & friends.
- November 2013: Developed 15 “user personas & scenarios” to help us make informed decisions about who our users/visitors are and how we can best serve them. (Held a Meet the Persona’s Open House event to introduce these to campus).
- December 2013: Created a site map to understand how the new site’s content will be structured. (Gathered feedback on this from a series of focus groups including faculty and deans’ council).
- December 2013: Worked on style tiles to determine which overall design direction we want to head in. (Shared concepts with a faculty/staff/student focus group to get feedback on design direction).
- January 2014: Put together page strategy documents to identify strategic foundation and content recommendations for key areas.
- February 2014: Assembled a newly formed “Web Advisory Group” to provide feedback to the Web Team on various stages of the project (made up of faculty/staff/students).
- February 2014: Completed wireframes (or blueprints) to clarify what needs to be on the various page types/templates. (Presented these for review/feedback from Web Advisory Group).
- March 2014: Developed design concepts and extensions, where we finalized designs for various page types/templates.
- May 2014: Began to focus on web governance, especially in identifying/supporting our content editors (people/roles/responsibilities, processes, documentation, training/support).
- June 2014: Front-end development and testing of the designs.
- July 2014: Chose Localist as our online Calendar platform and began implementation.
- August 2014: Began implementing the new design templates into the new CMS, OU Campus.
- November 2014: Realigned internal staffing to strategically support our responsibilities and needs of campus.
- January 2015: Brought two new positions, Digital Strategist and Web Content Manager on board.
- February 2015: Offered “Your Next Steps for the New Website” sessions for web content editors to help departments begin working on developing content for their sites. Provided a Web Content Checklist.
- March 2015: Offered “Writing for the Web” training sessions for campus which covered content strategy, best practices, brand/voice/tone, and style and grammar. Published Web Content Guidelines. Taught by our Web Content Manager, Josh Bishop.
- April 2015: Began collecting “bio” information to create faculty/staff profiles.
- Summer 2015: Began building out top tier or “phase one” pages/sections. Including sections such as the homepage, news, events, directory, admissions, research, arts, campus life, about, visit, give, alumni, parents, the academics homepage, and a new catalog.
- August 10, 2015: Launched “phase one”.
- September 2015: Began offering monthly OU Campus (CMS) training for the campus community. Published OU Campus Users’ Guide.
- September 2015: Launched the Stories of Hope blog.
- October 2015: Published Hope College Web Style Guide.
- November 2015: Introduced new design and theme for blogs.hope.edu in WordPress.
- Fall 2015 to present: With the launch of “phase one,” we’re working with departments/offices on developing sitemaps, content, and pages. This is an ongoing process of working on and launching department sites on a rolling basis.
- August 2016: Launched inHope, the new college intranet built in WordPress.
- August 2016: Launched redesigned Athletics website and mobile app through PrestoSports.
- December 2016: Launched the online version of News from Hope College magazine in WordPress.
- June 2017: CIT implements new web server for hope.edu, now served as SSL via HTTPS.
- February 2018: Launched the online version of Spera magazine in WordPress.
- February 2018: Created OU Campus help videos.
- April 2018: Introduced a new Web Accessibility Policy and began offering web accessibility training in August 2018.
- September 2018: Introduced a revised design of hope.edu to address accessibility updates.
- November 2018: Updated the Hope Blog Network with a refreshed design and new color palette to address accessibility updates.
- August 2019: Upgraded the Hope Blog Network with a new WordPress theme and redesign.