Online learning has created a highly competitive environment for higher education institutions, especially those with a focus on educating adult learners. The biggest challenge for many schools is decreasing recruitment and enrollment numbers, and without major changes, many institutions face a very uncertain future. One school has not only recognized the need for change in their approach, but has actually taken a significant step toward engaging, recruiting, and retaining students. Enter Cambridge College.
Cambridge College has a main campus and several regional centers across the United States. They offer graduate programs for adult learners that help their students meet the challenges of higher education and earn the degree credentials they need to advance their careers.
With a new president at the helm and a desire to better understand their prospective students, Cambridge College partnered with OHO to leverage their digital properties more effectively to reach and communicate with their audience – working adults between 25 and 55 years old, in geographically diverse areas.
The college’s website had a number of inherent issues that were negatively impacting their outreach.
- A single site was employed to house information for the main campus and 7 regional campuses spread across the country. There was no differentiation between campuses and programs.
- Degree and course information was presented only through a 400-page downloadable PDF, making it incredibly challenging to determine whether the school offers programs of interest.
- The site lacked a directory of departments or programs making it difficult for the user to find specific information they may be seeking.
- The site navigation was confusing and not productive for user flow.
- A lack of consistent branding across the website left users with a different feel from page-to-page.
Cambridge College Website After Redesign
OHO outlined a website redesign strategy that addressed not only the user experience and visual shortcomings of the website, but also the opportunities for marketing to audiences across regions. By conducting in-depth focus groups and interviews, OHO identified and defined the various personas of prospective students and the user flows the site should employ to enhance their experience. In addition, OHO:
- Built a unified site architecture that also allowed for the unique positioning of each individual campus.
- Centralized content administration for the website while offering regions of the page in which individual campuses have the ability to edit their own content.
- Improved navigation to reflect real life use cases and present the best experience for site visitors.
- Created unified branding across all site pages for a consistent visual experience.
- Built a Drupal content management system and incorporated the Domain Access Module allowing the main campus to create centralized messaging, including course descriptions, that pushes out to regional campus microsites and maintains brand communication standards.
- Tested and optimized the site experience with unique audiences representative of prospective student groups specific to regional centers.
Cambridge College Website Before Redesign