EWU’s website will soon see an overhaul thanks to the newly formed digital communications team who plans to modernize the site since the last redesign nearly seven years ago.
“The website is a university’s number one marketing and communications tool,” said Sam Buzby, manager of digital communications. “We’re looking forward to bringing EWU up to speed with current web trends, and even a bit beyond what we’re used to seeing in a standard university website.”
Assembled a little more than two months ago, the team of six individuals has been conducting research on best practices and auditing high-traffic areas of the current website. They’ve also been meeting with major stakeholders in admissions and academics to learn more about their goals and needs before beginning the bulk of their design and development work.
“We want this to be a collaborative, transparent process because we’re making some pretty substantial changes to our site’s functionality,” Buzby said. “When we go live later this year, we want people to be pleasantly surprised, but to be well-aware of the reasoning behind the changes.”
The team’s number one goal is to maximize usability and put the needs of users first, and will be reaching out to students, faculty and staff in the coming months for their input. Currently, their top priority is to create the highest-profile sections of the site and ensure they are audience-tested.
The redesign is split into three phases: team building and strategy implementation; redesign and rollout of top priority web pages; and the full redesign of ewu.edu completed. Currently, the team is beginning to work on phase two.
“It has taken a lot of behind-the-scenes work over the past year and a half to get us where we are today,” Buzby said. “I want to especially thank IT and Academic Affairs for their support both in personnel and expertise, as well as President Cullinan for providing resources to initiate the redesign process. Now that we have a dedicated team in place, we’re moving as fast as we can to deliver the best site possible.”
The target launch for the first rollout of EWU’s new website is August 2017, so as not to disrupt the admissions cycle or current academic year. There will be some in-between time where portions of the old and new sites will live alongside each other before the entire site is overhauled.
“With WordPress as our new content management system (CMS), there are so many design and functionality possibilities that we never had with the old CMS,” Buzby said. “I can’t wait to unveil a new, modern website for EWU that truly reflects the excellence and core values of our institution.”