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NIU Homepage update emphasizes program marketing, enrollment

May 27, 2016
Homepage Screen Capture

The updated homepage features navigation changes
and a new content strategy.

Updates to the homepage rolled out today, featuring data-informed navigation changes and a new content strategy.

“The navigation changes are a result of the website traffic analysis that we do on a quarterly basis,” said Jennice O’Brien, director of Creative Services. “We are also embarking on a new content strategy to drive traffic from the homepage to academic program information.”

Navigation changes include:

  • Moving links to “Libraries” and “Make a Gift” (formerly “Donate”) to the global navigation to make those sites accessible from every page of the NIU website;
  • Moving the “Apply” and “Visit Campus” buttons to the grey audience navigation bar to make them more prominent on the homepage;
  • Adding “Qualtrics” and “Huskies Get Hired” to the Quick Links;
  • Removing several underutilized links in the footer, and adding links for “Online & Regional Academics” and “Transcripts;” and
  • making a variety of updates to the top navigation, including a completely revamped “Research” menu.

“Our new content strategy centers on the premise that the main audience for the homepage is prospective students and is a first step in our response to the Program Prioritization Academic Task Force’s recommendation that we renew our focus on the promotion of academic programs,” O’Brien said.

The main homepage content feature will highlight recruitment-focused events and the university’s academic reputation and programs.

On the lower half of the page, a feed from the NIU Newsroom reinforces and promotes the university’s academic reputation. A new section called “Huskie Spotlight” highlights individual students, faculty and alumni and features calls to action related to admissions and academic programs.

With document-sharing tools such as OneDrive for Business, O365 Groups and SharePoint, in place for NIU employees and students, the Web Team is encouraging web page managers to no longer use their web pages as a digital filing cabinet.

“We are constantly looking at how website visitors use the website, and how we can improve their experience while supporting the university’s recruitment and retention initiatives and goals,” O’Brien said. “We look forward to fostering partnerships with academic departments to make their websites mobile-friendly and recruitment focused.”