HighEdWeb Assocation
The Annual Conference for Higher Education Web Professionals, Austin, Texas, October 23-26, 2011

Session Details

Everything But the Kitchen Sink – A campus wide web redesign perspective

MMP10 Marketing, Management, and Professional Development Track

Big Bend


Are you launching a campus wide reassessment and redesign of your institution’s web presence? This presentation will explore American University’s eventful journey from concept to launch to a mature and thriving distributed web publishing culture. The journey began with assessing the legacy web that lacked brand realization, consistent design, defined architecture and timely content. The assessment involved understanding AU’s key audiences and coming up with a concept that appealed to those key audiences. Numerous focus groups, surveys and in-depth interviews were held through the entire lifecycle of the project. Starting with a broad study and assessment, AU successfully launched a fully rearchitected, rebranded web site with fully redone, new content in 18 months. The scope included all the university’s offices, schools, and academic programs. The AU team successfully debated brand identities and sub brand statements, deliberated design decisions, selected and implemented an enterprise content management system, rolled out web applications, and completed redid over 30,000 pages – all in 16 months. At the heart of the implementation was defining the role of content leads across campus and bringing them together to train them on the new system, explore web writing techniques, learn web 2.0, and help form a distributed content publishing group. Content leads worked with staff, faculty, students and alumni to shape the content for the new web. This group not only played a key role during implementation, it is largely the operational model for ongoing web publishing on campus. This presentation explores an overall approach to web redesign, role of multiple governance committees, methods to achieve balanced compromises, resulting in a successful launch. After almost 2 years of launch, the site still looks fresh with new, timely content, the campus community feels connected, and AU is well on its way to incorporate the newly developed brand!