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Ashland University (Ohio)

Asked Ruffalo Noel Levitz to conduct Web research and identify opportunities to enhance Ashland’s “.edu” Web site.

Objective

Historically, Ashland University had two Web sites: a “.edu” for current students, faculty, and staff, and “a .com” strictly for prospective students and parents. However, the university became unhappy with this split approach and wanted to move to one Web site serving all Ashland University Audiences. The campus wanted to use research to guide this transition and also use these insights to redesign 150 to 200 pages of the “.edu” Web site.

Action

Asked Ruffalo Noel Levitz to conduct Web research and identify opportunities to enhance Ashland’s “.edu” Web site.  The research confirmed the decision to move to one University Web site as data revealed that prospective students and parents were confused by the presence of two sites and frustrated by the inconsistencies between them. Findings also showed that about half of prospective students visited the “current students” Web page in addition to the prospective students/admissions pages to get a more accurate view of the school and campus life. In response, the scope of the Web development project was expanded, with Ashland redesigning 800 Web pages to more fully meet the needs and expectations of site visitors.

Outcome

The new Web site is fully-functional and easy to navigate. Built using current national trends and best practices in higher education Web site development, it resonates with current students, prospective students, parents, and high school counselors through the use of multi-media and relevant content. In addition, the University is now using a new content management system that offers easy updates and automatic notifications of any technical errors, allowing staff to keep the site running in tip-top shape at all times.

Case study used with the permission of Ashland University.

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