A website is one of the most important tools a college can use for marketing to prospective students (Kelly, 2019). The College of Education (COE) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is currently redesigning its website to better serve its complex needs. The COE consists of eight academic departments, two research units, 196 faculty, over 1800 students, 58 program and track options, and is involved in various projects. Providing accurate, thorough, and up-to-date information to the COE’s varied audiences had become too complex for its single website. Through a needs analysis, the COE’s web design team identified design requirements that allowed COE units to communicate directly with their stakeholders, align with COE branding, and benefit from the COE’s technical support. In response, the team utilized a multi-site approach of interconnected and templatized subsites that support consistency, yet provide options for customization.
Expected to be completed in Summer 2020, the site is being built in phases that allow for making revisions based on feedback. In Spring 2020, the web design team will be conducting a usability study to determine whether website visitors are able to accomplish the common goals of prospective students. Methods will include participant observation and interviews.
The purpose of this presentation will be to share highlights from the process, the structure of the new site, the results of the usability study, and future site plans. While the results and lessons learned will stem from one College’s experience, it is expected that the implications will be applicable to other institutions.