V5 - Xavier Website Update
Xavier Website V5 - An Improved User Experience for 2020
This January the Office of Marketing and Communications will go live with a newly-designed version of xavier.edu. All updates have been based off research, evaluation of best practices and market trends.
Research included analyzing the current xavier.edu website data to understand where users are currently clicking, how they navigate the website and where they spend most of their time. We also conducted focus groups with high school students, current Xavier undergraduates and graduates, and many offices across campus. We asked questions about various portions of the website and identified opportunities for functionality and design improvements.
In addition to researching website data and conducting focus groups, our office performed a competitor analysis, where we reviewed other university websites to determine best practices and industry trends when coming up with the new design.
1. Lead Generation
A main goal of the website redesign is to increase web applications and prospective leads. Our newly-designed home page will feature lead generation content and our academic program pages will prominently display lead generation forms at the top right corner—a space where people are most likely to look when scanning a page.
2. Mobile Friendly
Over 50% of traffic to www.xavier.edu is on a mobile device. The updated templates are designed with a mobile-first mentality, focusing on providing users the information they need in an efficient format on mobile devices. The new templates encourage website editors around campus to rethink their content strategy, displaying key information first. The new pages also load more efficiently, reducing page-load times for all users, but particularly mobile users who sometimes have a less reliable internet connection.
Clear, direct copy, image descriptions and a consistent content structure will allow all users to access the content they need on our website. We also modified our secondary color schemes and fonts to be in line with the WCAG 2.1 compliance guidelines and web best practices for accessibility.
We have an outlined plan for content for the year as it relates to brand pillars, key events on campus, important deadlines and exciting new rankings and stories. The newly-designed home page will allow more opportunities and space for telling stories, sharing what’s great about Xavier and connecting students and alumni to Xavier events.
5. Search Rankings
More than 60% of traffic to xavier.edu comes from online searches (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). Our team used data from Google Analytics and consulted with search engine optimization (SEO) experts to optimize website content to better meet user intent, especially for pages with high search traffic. Optimizing the website content to meet the needs of users will eventually increase our search rankings and bring more visitors to our website.