College and University Main Websites

Redesigns and refreshes of the main website for a college or university are a huge part of NewCity’s work each year. We usually do 3-4 of these in a year in addition to all our work with smaller units within a university.

We have all of these capabilities in-house. When we reach the development phase, we may work with an external partner depending on the content management system (CMS). We do full implementations for Drupal and WordPress. For clients on platforms like Omni CMS, Cascade Server, Ingeniux or T4, these partners handle the back-end implementation. We work closely with them during integration and help our clients with QA and launch prep at the end.

A full redesign typically moves through these phases, over the course of 8-12 months.

website redesign process infographic

Redesign or Refresh?

A refresh will be more targeted, and the scope varies depending on whether we are mainly focusing on content or if we will need to make changes to the front-end design system or back-end CMS.

Some important questions to ask if you are considering whether a refresh or redesign makes sense include:

    • Is it feasible to redesign the front end and leave your CMS largely intact so you don’t have to migrate content? That depends on how your current CMS was architected.
    • Do you even have the resources to consider migrating to a new platform? If not, a refresh might be the only path even if it requires heavy redevelopment of your front end.
    • Have your brand standards changed since your last redesign? Depending on how much, a refresh may be challenging. At the least you might be looking at a complete redesign/redevelopment of your front end pattern library.
    • How long do you need this next iteration of your web presence to last? A refresh may add a 2-3 years to the lifespan of your site, while a full redesign can lay the foundation for 5+ years. 
    • How extensive are the information architecture, navigation and content changes you envision? Content improvements within pages are easy to do in a refresh, but significant IA changes often point to a redesign.
    • Would you benefit from fresh insights into your audiences? Audience research reveals opportunities that can help you create the content you need to better persuade and engage (i.e. refresh) or point to the need for more structural changes (i.e. redesign).
    • How is your current brand design system (aka pattern library) organized? Does the code structure lend itself well to a refresh, or is it dated enough that it really needs to be rebuilt?
    • What would be the impact of anticipated IA and design changes to the whole site, front and back end?

If you have an upcoming need, contact us and we will be glad to meet with you to discuss. Or, we can send you a PDF with a detailed description of our approach to this work.