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VCU to launch home page redesign this fall

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Virginia Commonwealth University’s home page — vcu.edu — is often referred to as the university’s digital front door. And all front doors eventually need some TLC — whether it’s new paint, new hardware or a whole new style.

VCU will be launching a redesign of its main website, which includes the home page along with about 20 subpages, this fall. Four years have passed since the last major overhaul, which launched in August 2013. Since then, changes in the university’s digital landscape — new websites being published, and old websites being redesigned or taken down — along with changes in technology and trends and the launch of the largest fundraising campaign in VCU’s history have made it necessary to revamp and rethink the current site.

The digital experience is a critical component of a prospective students’ journey.

The 2013 redesign marked a noticeable shift toward making the site a recruitment tool for new students. The latest redesign will continue that shift by gearing even more content toward prospective students and their families, who will be seen as the site’s primary audience.

“Higher education has become an incredibly competitive and dense market in recent years. Now more than ever, the digital experience is a critical component of a prospective students’ journey,” said Pamela D. Lepley, vice president of the Division of University Relations. “The impression the VCU home page makes on prospective students and their families plays an important role in their decisions.”

Following months of research, including focus groups, online surveys, user testing, a competitive analysis and an in-depth examination of analytics, the new site is being built in-house by the Division of University Relations. The team has been gathering input and feedback from stakeholders from across the university to ensure key messages are relayed and user needs are met.

A beta version of the site is scheduled to launch in September and will run simultaneously with the existing site for four to six weeks. During that time user feedback may lead to adjustments in design and content. The new website will launch in October, and for a short time users will be able to access the old version of the website to help ease the transition.

In the meantime, the VCU community is encouraged to follow along, see sneak peeks and provide feedback via the VCU Web Redesign blog at webredesign.vcu.edu.

 

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