UD rebranding shifts into high gear with new website

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On Monday, March 18, the University of Dallas publicly launched its new website. The fruit of over three years of research and development, the new face of the university promises to be more aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly than the previous website.

“We’ve long needed to have a website that’s more beautiful and interfaces more seamlessly with users,” said Dr. Jonathan Sanford, president. “I think the new website accomplishes both of these goals.”

A central component of streamlining the new website was eliminating excess content that had accumulated on the old website – over 4000 individual pages.

“The transition process itself has eliminated a lot of duplications and sometimes misinformation based on things that have changed over time,” said Sanford.

Whereas the old website had content intended for a variety of audiences, the new website is intended primarily for prospective students as a recruitment tool.

“The real audience and purpose of the website is for student recruitment. How are we portraying ourselves to attract new families and students to consider UD? You’ll see a lot of emphasis on the homepage on information that’s relevant to prospective students,” said Clare Venegas, vice president for marketing and communications. “It is, I think, a more beautiful presentation of our identity and essentially a digital brochure to help market the university and make it more attractive.”

The content intended for current students, faculty and staff has been removed from the public website and moved to the intranet so that only those who require the material will have access to it.

“The intranet, myUD, is what enables students, faculty and staff to find the information they need for the purposes of day-to-day life on campus, which we don’t need to make available to everyone and their brother,” said Sanford.

To better cater to prospective students, several changes have been made to increase the ease of access.

“One of the major changes and improvements is the ease of finding programs from the perspective of a student who is considering UD,” said Venegas. “We have a new program finder that categorizes all of the academic programs, majors, and concentrations, in an easy-to-use search format.”

The new website emphasizes the most important and appealing aspects of UD’s identity, such as “being Catholic” and “serving others.”

“Serving others was an aspect of the university that a lot of current students [said is] an attractive part of being in the UD community,” said Venegas.

To determine what will appeal the most to prospective students, research was conducted across all demographics to hone the selling points displayed on the new website.

“We surveyed alumni donors, employees, and staff. We did focus groups with current students, [which at the time] was 2021,” said Venegas. “Then we did a survey of prospective students, high school students who are looking for four-year universities.”

However, the website will be a constant work-in-progress and will continually respond to feedback, particularly after the website’s launch.

“We will be doing a focus group, and we’re going to get feedback from students, faculty and staff,” said Venegas. “We know full well that university websites are always a project in progress. We’ll constantly be refining and adding some new content, but we have a pretty decentralized process for content curation in that different offices and academic departments do have control over the pages that are within their scope.”

Coming less than a year after the overhaul of UD’s logo and related branding, including that of UD athletics, the new website represents the next step in the Sanford administration’s efforts to revitalize UD as a competitive force among the best Catholic universities.

-Click on the link to view the revamped UD website https://udallas.edu/

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