The much-heralded launch of Centre’s newly redesigned website in January was met with great fanfare by users on and off campus. And in less than six months it has already seen its one millionth visitor. By comparison, Centre’s site averaged 1.3 million visits during the previous calendar year, while the new site is on pace to reach two million visits in its first year.
Visual and Web Designer Ryan Lanigan joined the communications office in April 2013, bringing with him a wealth of design education and experience, and made redesigning Centre’s website his first order of business.
“The main goal of the redesign was to create a site that functioned as an intuitive tool for prospective students to learn more about Centre College,” Lanigan says. “To that end, it was important that the site be responsive so that it is easily viewable on mobile devices, as well as the most popular desktop browsers, without compromising our visual standards.”
Centre’s web presence was rebuilt from the ground up. In the best practice of the day, the College’s previous website had been designed around static pages, meaning that the same prebuilt content was generated each time a page loaded. Changing technologies have made possible the use of dynamic content, allowing for web pages to be generated on the fly. Some of the advantages include a much more functional website that is easier to update by users who don’t have an extensive knowledge of website development and the ease with which content can be updated. Fresh content brings people back more often and helps with search engine optimization (SEO). Dynamic websites also allow for the use of content management systems (CMS), so that changes can be made globally within and across all documents, keeping content as current as possible.
“Implementing an easy-to-use CMS allows people from various backgrounds and geographic locations to edit their content online,” Lanigan continues. “The lack of a universal CMS on the previous site was definitely an area of need.”
Increased visits are a useful indicator of a successful and more navigable web presence, as well as acknowledgement that Centre’s prominent position as a national liberal arts college is reaching a broader audience via its website.
And while ease of user experience and increased traffic are the primary goals, the accolades of your peers is also gratifying. To date, Centre’s new website has been awarded an American Advertising Federation ADDY Award, a Graphic Design USA American In-house Design Award and a Gold designation from Hermes Creative Awards.
by Cindy Long