Reviving an Outdated Website
Western Wyoming Community College is an educational fixture in a part of the country that has an abundance of outdoor life and dinosaur fossils, but not as many choices when it comes to higher education. But WWCC is more than just a regional hub of learning: Students come not just from across the region, the country, and even from abroad to study everything from anthropology to exercise science, business and more, en route to earning their associate’s degree.
In 2018, WWCC began to tackle a challenge that had troubled it for years: The school’s website was well over a decade old, and it was more than just visually outdated. It was difficult for users to navigate, and challenging to update because it did not have a content management system, and could only be updated by developers.
That meant the website was more of a barrier than a portal, and potential students were missing out on a great educational opportunity as a result.
Hatching a Plan
The marketing team at Western Wyoming was on a mission to make their website more modern, more accessible, and more representative of the robust student experience and value that the school offers.
We knew they had come to the right place: We excel not just at building beautiful and seamlessly functional websites, but also at taking a problem and looking at it from every angle before determining a creative solution.
Sharpening the Message
We saw the promise of a school with a vital mission, a distinct identity and a unique value proposition. Yes, they needed a new website, but they also needed fresh messaging that conveyed the complete picture of the student experience: Excellent faculty-student ratios, dozens of academic pathways, first-class facilities, and a spirit of independence and adventure that is quintessentially Wyoming.
Doing the Homework
We kicked off the partnership by hosting the WWCC team at our Center City offices for a three-day workshop to brainstorm the ideal functionality, organization and spirit of this new site. By the time they headed back West, we had a plan in place.
“They had done some work previously to organize a preliminary site map, and so we kind of iterated on what they had created and started looking at how many templates do we need,” says Louis Miller, eCity’s managing director of strategy.
Exploring for Solutions
The road to the end of a project is rarely a straight line. We began the project thinking the new website would be updated with an open-source CMS like Drupal. But after some initial work, we realized that the WWCC team didn’t have the resources to manage the security and updates that Drupal would require.
We realized they would need a licensed, self-supported solution; after some exploring, we aligned on OmniUpdate, a leading CMS for colleges and universities that is designed for ease of use by a large number of decentralized, non-technical users.
“In a very small team, you need something that would integrate with their current systems and meet their technology and security requirements. But also something that people at all technology comfort levels could go in and use,” Miller says.
A Timeless Product
The new website makes it easier for prospective students to learn about the school’s course offerings, to set up a campus visit and – most importantly – it improves the path for students to find information, schedule a tour, and start the enrollment process. But it also reframed how outsiders think of the school, immediately overhauling the school’s online presence with a style and user functionality designed to last.
The look is fresh and clean, and vital information – academics, admissions, student life – is easy to find, clearly presented and built around large images and beautiful design and original photography.
It’s also designed to stand the test of time.
“I think the site will stand out,” Miller says. “ It is very modern without being overly trendy.
The site launched in the fall of 2019, and the end-product speaks for itself.
“We went from such an old, outdated site into something that gives students a look at what their life can actually be there,” Miller says. “And it gives clear paths to find out more information and really streamline that whole process into scheduling a visit, and applying, which are obviously the most important parts of the website. It made it so much easier for people to find the information that is relevant to them.”