Every so often, you need to update your home, wardrobe or hairstyle.
The same holds true with websites.
That’s why the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University website will have a new look come Sunday, Nov. 15.
“It has been a number of years (2016) since the website has been refreshed, and seeing as it is our most important marketing and communication tool, it was time,” said Nate Dehne, vice president of the Enrollment Management and Marketing (EMM) team at CSB and SJU.
“It (the current website) is starting to show its age though, like every site eventually will, so it was time for an update,” said Josiah Johnson, a web programmer for Information Technology Services at CSB and SJU who, along with designer Heidi Ruprecht from the EMM, were heavily involved in the redesign.
The first of five phases to the redesign will focus on prospective students, admission and the “About” pages for CSB and SJU.
According to a 2019 report by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, an organization that helps colleges enroll the students they want, a college’s website continues to be the No. 1 resource for students in their college search.
Since the homepage often creates the first impression not only for the entire site but also the entire institution, it’s the logical place to speak to prospective students.
The new design will be modern, minimalist and on-brand, which reflects the identity of both schools today and where they are going. The website will lead with information (facts, figures and clear navigation) and then tell the story of that information with outcome profiles, faculty/student research, campus updates and event reporting.
“The goal is to bring a clean and refreshed look, feel and navigation to the site,” Dehne said. “Through this redesign we are specifically focused on the target audiences of prospective students and those audiences unfamiliar with CSB and SJU. We want to ensure that the things that make CSB and SJU special and unique places are drawn to the forefront and easily communicated through the site.”
“It’s a more streamlined experience than before, which is beneficial for prospective students,” Johnson said. “Our current site is almost information overload. There’s so much text and links going on, it’s easy to get lost.”
They’ll be one other noticeable change. Gone will be the blue/gray bars atop the page, replaced by red.
“It will be more modern looking for sure,” Johnson said. “It also allows for more dynamic content than our current site, which is pretty static. I’m also a big fan of the color choices – I missed our iconic red!”
Both Dehne and Johnson were asked what they like about the new website.
“I like the ability to use both photography and video on the main page, and throughout the site, to not only tell visitors about CSB and SJU, but to have them see and ‘feel’ what we are all about here,” Dehne said. “The crisp colors, images and layout will make the site more easily navigable and visually appealing, especially on phones and tablets.”
“It offers lots of components for content creation, such as image carousels, bar/circle charts and tabbed content, to name a few items,” Johnson said. “Those components can also be reordered on the page, so the layouts are much more dynamic than before.”
There will be some navigational elements of the current site that will remain the same for members of the CSB and SJU community and those familiar with the site, Dehne pointed out.
“The ‘A to Z’ index, for example, remains on the redesigned site as a quick navigational tool when you know where you want to get to on the site,” Dehne said. “Also, we are seeing our CSB and SJU community often navigating to direct links and landing pages on the website from social media and digital posts, and that ability remains.”
With four additional phases to be completed in the coming months, much remains to be updated – including academic department pages, information for current students (pages for the CSB and SJU libraries, XPD and Global Education, for example) and alumnae/i and internal professionals information (including the Business offices, Institutional Advancement offices and Human Resources).
“We look forward to keeping the pages and navigation fresh, dynamic and responsive to those seeking information about all that CSB and SJU has to offer,” Dehne said.