case study

Oberlin College & Conservatory

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Challenge

Oberlin College Website Redesign Agency

Prior to partnering with OHO Interactive, Oberlin College’s main .edu website did not present a cohesive brand message. The site was structured in such a way that multiple events, schools, and blogs were competing with one another (both in design and in content) instead of existing in a single, unified brand. The site also did not accurately portray the experience of attending Oberlin College, and they hoped to build a site that would convey the personality of the campus, and show visually what it was like to attend the college.

Solution

  • Oberlin's site displayed on an imac
  • Oberlin's site displayed on three iphones
  • Oberlin's site displayed on a macbook
  • Oberlin's site displayed on two ipads

The main goals of the project were:

  • Capture the highly-individualistic spirit of Oberlin
  • Clearly define Oberlin's two distinct prospective journeys for their conservatory and their college of arts and sciences.
  • Attract and prioritize high quality prospective students
  • Enable and promote more data-driven decision-making
  • Consolidate multiple CMS systems into a single unified Drupal multi-site

At the outset of the project, we conducted exhaustive user research, surveying hundreds of prospective and current students, their families, and alumni. We also conducted more than 20 hours of one-on-one interviews to better understand the unique needs of prospective students.

The original orbelin.edu site had multiple navigations on the majority of its pages, which our research found made it difficult for users to find the content they needed. By simplifying that structure under a hamburger menu, we were able to consolidate the most relevant content in one place and free up valuable page real estate.

Implementing a design that featured rich, experiential photography provided prospective students with a clear understanding of what to expect when they arrived on campus. Providing clear and distinct paths for conservatory prospects and college of arts and sciences prospects throughout the site ensured that each group could access the information that was most relevant to them.

Results

By working closely with the Oberlin College team, we were able to transform not only the site, but also the mindset of Oberlin College's digital teams. Consolidating everything into one Drupal instance allowed the editors at Oberlin to cross-promote content across different areas of the site. What was once a disjointed site with no clear brand messaging is now simplified, cohesive, and on message.