A recognized higher education institution of distinction in Tiffin, OH, Heidelberg University delivers an engrossing liberal arts educational experience supported by a tight-knit community of faculty, students, and alumni. LMD approached the challenge of redesigning the “Berg’s” website with the goal of conveying the same welcoming experience as setting foot on the tree-lined campus.
Heidelberg partnered with LMD to redesign Heidelberg.edu to more effectively showcase the University’s unique campus and community, while making it easier for prospective students to engage with the brand.
Additionally, at the same time as the public-facing site redesign, Heidelberg launched an extensive intranet to house information and services for current students and staff. Consequently, our primary goal was to sharpen the line between the public-facing site and the intranet. We accomplished this by consolidating the current student content and highlighting Heidelberg’s core mission, focusing the site’s purpose as a recruitment tool.
What We Did
The ultimate challenge for most higher education institutions is to get prospective students on campus for tours—the conventional wisdom being that nothing can replace real-world interaction with the brand. Our objective was to bring that same in-person Heidelberg experience to life online.
Activities & Deliverables
- Research & discovery
- Competitive analysis
- Usability testing
- Content strategy
- User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) design
- Drupal CMS implementation
Understanding the User Experience
To tailor the user experience, we set out to better understand how current and prospective students would actually use the site. LMD conducted extensive usability testing among these target audiences. We used an automated, online testing tool that made it convenient for testing participants to complete the testing on their own schedule. The usability tests walked the participants through a series of typical tasks--for example, apply to the University, learn more about a specific department, or find a specific staff member. We then used the testing results to enhance the interplay between content and design, streamline the user flow, organize the content, and improve functionality.
Creating a Sustainable Content Strategy
Heidelberg’s current site was challenged by a complex content development process. Multiple content authors across various departments within the University created and posted for the site. Without any centralized control over content, the current site lacked a cohesive message and tone. Further, some sections of the site were kept current, while other sections were out of date and inaccurate.
LMD inventoried and audited thousands of page of content on the current site, identifying content that was redundant, outdated, or trivial (aka, ROT). We then made recommendations to reorganize and consolidate the content. We leveraged the capabilities of the Drupal CMS to enable the Heidelberg project team to assign levels of authority and access to content creators, while always giving the project team ultimate control over publishing. LMD also trained the Heidelberg team on the art and science of creating content specifically for the web and incorporating the University’s brand messages seamlessly into the site’s content. The result was a streamlined content production process that allowed Heidelberg to publish content that was on-message and on time.
Bringing the ‘Berg to Life
LMD created an extended, scrollable homepage design to tell the Heidelberg story using a strategic messaging hierarchy. This approach focused appealing calls-to-action (CTAs), compelling and impactful photography of student interaction and the beautiful campus landscape, as well as dynamic social content via card pattern design.
Throughout the site, we showcased stunning campus photography and component-based packets of information. Heidelberg’s bold, sleek, and engaging digital platform exemplifies the Heidelberg experience, inspiring new cohorts of students to take meaningful action and discover what it means to be a Berg.