Want to submit feedback and ideas? Please use the Web Overhaul internal feedback form.
About the Project
The University Communications and Marketing team is excited to share detailed information about the Montclair State University website overhaul project. We will conduct this two-year initiative with the assistance of OHO Interactive, a highly experienced web strategy and design firm that works exclusively in higher education.
Montclair.edu is a critical component of the University’s communication infrastructure. It presently hosts some 30,000 pages across 250 sub-sites, serving over 3 million users and 20 million page views per year.
The most recent redesign effort occurred between 2015 and 2019. With so much change occurring across higher education and technology, our digital presence must evolve to reflect the goals, values and promise of our institution and better support top goals, especially student recruitment.
This project is a significant step toward enhancing the online experience that people have with our institution, and we want to ensure you are well-informed about its goals and phases.
This overhaul project has a comprehensive set of objectives designed to improve the user experience, support our university’s mission, and ensure efficiency in managing the website.
- Prioritizing Student Recruitment: While serving the needs of all user groups – prospective students, current students, faculty, staff, alumni and broader community – our primary focus is to provide prospective students with easy access to crucial information such as affordability, programs, student outcomes and the application process.
- Enhancing the Brand: We aim to strengthen Montclair State University’s brand and differentiate our institution effectively, elevating the first impression given when a user first discovers the site.
- Improving the User Experience: We want to create a website that offers a seamless and satisfying experience for all stakeholders, effectively supporting both internal and external university audiences, and optimizing for accessibility, sustainability and efficiency.
The website overhaul project will be executed in three phases:
- Discovery: In this phase, we will assess user needs and perspectives, evaluate website performance and gather essential data to inform our strategy and planning. Fall 2023
- Planning: We will create a strategic project plan with goals, strategies, tactics, timelines, resource requirements, KPIs, and recommendations for governance as well as a detailed UX/UI design plan. Spring/Summer 2024
- Implementation: The implementation phase includes content creation, migration, code production, testing, and iterative adjustments. We will provide ongoing support to ensure a smooth transition. Fall 2024 and Spring 2025
Initial Objectives for the Project
The assessment and discovery phase will establish specific objectives. At this point we believe they will include the following.
Simplifying and Strengthening Information Architecture and User Experience
We aim to reduce friction in accessing critical information and priority content while more efficiently organizing content intended for internal vs. external audiences. Including:
- Streamlining user paths for prospective students, reducing clicks, and improving enrollment funnel efficiency.
- Evaluating content distribution between internal and external audiences and optimizing the website for effective marketing. This will include identifying a new strategy for delivering content intended for students and employees, so that the website can focus more on recruiting students and engaging external audiences.
- Ensuring improved navigation for site users and easier maintenance for content editors and approvers.
- Providing user-friendly content creation templates and enhancing content accessibility
- Ensuring continued accessibility for persons with disabilities and compliance with federal regulations and global standards
- Finding ways to better meet the needs of non-English-speaking audiences, such as providing content in other languages and optimizing for online searches conducted in other languages
- Maintaining compliance with international privacy laws and data protection standards
- Aligning with the UX value framework, including business, brand, customer, and employee values
Improving SEO, Data Capture, and Analysis
We will work on enhancing optimization for search engines (SEO), including optimizing for voice search and addressing the deficits of the current internal search engine. We will enhance the collection and use of data to continuously improve site and content performance.
Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities
Caring for our web presence is a shared responsibility. This project will clarify roles and responsibilities for University Communications and Marketing, Information Technology, and the many academic and administrative units that manage content on montclair.edu. We will also seek ways to streamline production and management, such as use of workflows and a “publish once, appear many times” strategy. We also need to establish best practice approaches to keeping content current, including removing content that is no longer accurate or necessary.
We will explore options to enhance our current web content management system (WordPress) or consider potential migration to a new system, taking into account project goals, user needs, content management strategies and governance requirements.
- Jonathan Koppell
- Accountable Executive:
- Joseph Brennan
- Project Director:
- Sandy Deane
- Project Coordination and Support:
- Ariana Leyton
- Project Vendor:
- OHO Interactive
- Core team:
- Experts from University Communications and Marketing and IT
The project team will work closely with multiple stakeholders across campus, including the Web Content Managers and others who are engaged in producing and managing the website.
All members of the community will have multiple opportunities to contribute their thinking over the course of the entire initiative, starting with a broad and deep assessment this fall. We will provide regular communications and maintain open lines of communication.
We are committed to keeping you updated throughout this project’s lifecycle. Your feedback and input are valuable to us, and we encourage you to share your thoughts and suggestions as we progress. You are encouraged to participate and make your voice heard through the various surveys, focus groups and individual interviews to come this fall.
For general feedback please use the Web Overhaul Internal Feedback Form.
Thank you for your support and patience as we work to create a better online experience for the Montclair State University community.