This spring AU launched its new website with the help of the marketing staff.
The design and layout of AU’s website is critical to the university’s success. A website that is visually appealing and easy to maneuver will give prospective students a good first impression.
Elizabeth Murray, AU’s web editor and content writer, is the primary person responsible for the maintenance of the university website. Murray has overseen the AU website for more than two years and was involved in many of the decisions made regarding the redesign.
“There were two main processes that drove the overall redesign,” she said. “One was honing a content strategy—a method of consistently telling the university’s story. To do this, there were interviews with folks from around campus and a review of our strategic plan with recommendations to the MarComm team.
“The other was developing a visual concept. To create the look of the site, Caylor Solutions reviewed our printed materials and our brand guidelines and created design concepts. After getting to know us, they made recommendations to Ryon Kaopuiki, vice president for enrollment and marketing, Mischon Hart, director of marketing, and the staff in the Office of Marketing and Communication.
“Together, we worked with them to inform how information would be organized, how the story would be told and how it would be presented.”
Murray says that the website was redesigned with future students and alumni in mind.
“We’re currently working on an internet to serve current students, faculty and staff,” she said. “The prior site tried to do so many different things that it could be confusing for folks who did not yet know us or who hadn’t been on campus for a while. Clarifying our audience will allow us to better serve one another.”
Redesigning the website is no small task. Even after hours of trial and error, everything must be approved by the president’s cabinet. The last approval process for a website redesign began in 2014 with President Edwards. The 2014 redesign was not launched until January of 2016 under President Pistole.
Murray says that the website will never truly be completed.
“It will always be a work in progress as we continue to improve the writing, increase the effectiveness of the navigation and make updates to reflect the ongoing growth of the university and its programs,” she said.
“I’ve been really grateful for teamwork from across campus during the first several weeks to update text, correct issues and work to tell the AU story more clearly.”
Stefanie Leiter, assistant professor of public relations, played a large role in the previous website redesigns, beginning in 2006.
“Working on five previous redesigns, I know the research and dedication it takes considering how fast technology changes,” she said. “I believe the new website is the perfect tool for prospective students. It provides a starting point to discover the unique qualities AU has to offer.”