Davidson College’s website redesign received a bronze award from this year’s Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Circle of Excellence awards competition. The college competed against 68 other entries in the institutional website category.
The Circle of Excellence awards are advancement’s premier international awards program that recognizes the work of CASE members, acknowledging superior accomplishments that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and deliver exceptional results. Winning programs epitomize the profession’s best practices, raise standards and contribute to a growing body of knowledge about advancement.
For the 2014 awards, CASE received more than 3,000 entries for consideration in 100 categories by 629 member higher education institutions, independent schools and nonprofits from around the world.
“We are honored to receive this award from CASE. It recognizes the great work of so many individuals and departments across campus during the website redesign project,” said Doug Minor, director of digital communications. “We had an amazing project team that included staff from College Relations, College Communications and Information Technology Services, with additional input and assistance from Admission and Financial Aid, Student Life, Academic Affairs, the Principal Executive Staff (PES), and a website advisory group whose membership included many faculty and staff from across campus.”
Davidson’s strategic partner for the redesign project was BarkleyREI whose office is based in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The redesign project kicked off in February 2012 and saw the new website launch in August 2013. The college’s previous website had grown to more than 19,000 pages, which was edited down to just under 3,500 pages at launch. The site features a new content management system implementation and a vibrant and engaging responsive design that adjusts to the screen size of visitors on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones. Additional information about the redesign project can be found on the college’s redesign project blog.
The CASE Circle of Excellence award is just the latest received this year by College Communications for their digital communications work. In January and February, the office received a special merit award from CASE District III for the new athletic center fundraising website, and two awards from the Higher Education Marketing Report-a gold award for the college’s social media hub and a bronze award for the website redesign project. The Davidson website also has been included in several “Top 20” college and university website design lists.
We’re pleased to provide an advance preview of the new design for davidsonwildcats.com. The design for the athletics site is based on the new Davidson website look and feel but presents your Davidson Wildcats with their own unique and very visual online presence.
The site design was done by Davidson Athletics’ online partner Sidearm Sports and the project was coordinated by Sports Information Director Joey Beeler. You can look for the new site design to appear on davidsonwildcats.com sometime in August. We love the new look. Go Wildcats!
Please note: this is an update of an earlier blog post and includes information about the new website launch date and dates for the internal Web content review period.
The new website will launch on Monday, August 5. In advance of the launch date, faculty and staff will have any opportunity to review their department webpages and provide the Web team with any content changes during the period of July 10-24. Content changes will be implemented during this period and between July 24 and the August 5 launch (and on an ongoing basis post-launch). All faculty and staff will receive an email from Doug Minor, director of digital communications, on July 10 with the Web address to use during the Web content review period and process to follow in submitting content change. The site preview URL should not be shared publicly at this time and will change once we launch the new website.
Requesting Web Content Changes
- Content change requests should be submitted through the the online request form that can be found at the very top of the preview website (area in gold, labeled as “Web Content Review – Requesting Changes”)
- Content change requests may also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you have specific questions or concerns, they can be submitted through the online form, by email, or by calling 704-894-2242
Requested content changes will be prioritized based on importance and need.
Web Redesign Progress
We have made significant progress on the site in the last three months and we are anxious to show the result of our work.
- Thousands of pages have been migrated into the redesigned site since March, with a significant portion of this happening in April, May, and June
- The new website has been moved from the development server with our Web partner BarkleyREI to Davidson’s own Web servers (this happened on June 7)
- We have added many new images to the site, including top of page mastheads, right column callouts, and other areas (photo work will be ongoing)
Our Work is Not Done When We Launch (it’s Ongoing)
When we launch, we get the site to the point where we feel comfortable with it’s launch. Our work will never be truly finished, but most of the remaining work on the redesign project will continue through the summer and fall 2013.
Additionally, after launch we will be continuing to add new features and functionality, news stories, profiles, photos, mastheads with captions, and right column callouts.
Department Website Content Meetings (Continued)
As you can imagine, going from 19,000 CMS pages to around 4,000 pages has been a Herculean effort and something we have done in less than 14 months. In reality it’s only been in the last six to eight months, since most of our part-time content writers and freelance staff only came on board with us in the late fall and winter.
We have not had an opportunity to meet with every academic and administrative department on campus (we’ve met and spoken with a great number of departments). It’s not an oversight, but due more to the limited amount of time available over the past two months as we push forward toward launch. We are making our best effort to migrate over existing department content to the new website for departments and fully expect that departments/offices will want to make additional changes and edits. We will do our best to accommodate all requests and work with departments post-launch to update and make your requested changes as quickly as we can.
Content Management System Training
We will begin offering new group-based CMS training starting in mid-to-late August. CMS training dates will be announced on this blog and on Inside Davidson.
Since we’ve simplified the CMS interface for content authors, these CMS trainings will cover more than just how to create and edit pages, but discuss the new CMS workflow, writing and preparing content for the Web, considerations for mobile visitors, sizing images, adding meta data to attachments, accessibility considerations, and following Web standards and best practices. A new CMS support site will be developed and launched over the fall.