NYU.edu Website Redesign
communication strategy | learning design | training facilitation
About this Project
The New York University Digital Communications Group oversaw the complete redesign of the central NYU website. As the Training & Support Specialist I regularly interact with the website content authors who would be affected by this redesign, so I partnered with the Digital Communications Specialist to develop a comprehensive communication strategy and copy library in addition to creating and facilitating all necessary training.
Timeline: January - August 2016
Developing a Communication Strategy
The primary goal when developing our strategy was to effectively communicate so that all audiences felt aware and prepared to navigate the updated NYU.edu. There were two defined audience segments, each with specific goals:
Site viewer goals
Prevent surprise by generating public awareness.
Educate on any changes that may impact specific site viewers.
Promote new and existing important features.
Content management system (CMS) user goals
Make users aware of transition dates.
Educate on what is and is not changing in the redesign.
Inform how to best prepare for transition and schedule optional information sessions.
Illustrate how existing pages will be transitioned.
Identify our expectations of users during the transition.
Creating a Copy Library
Inspired by our summer launch date, we developed a campaign theme around the "refreshment" of the website.
mobile-friendly | new look | improved user experience
A draft of a digital screen ad and example of title treatment, flat graphics, and color palette.
The overall voice and tone for redesign communications could be best described as:
Tempered excitement: focus most on the site being mobile-friendly
Matter of fact but always leaning optimistic and humorous, when appropriate
Confident, concise, self-assured and without embellishments
Specifically for CMS users - incentivizing attention and participation.
After the strategy was approved by the project leads, we developed our key messages in varying lengths (short, medium, and full copy) that could be used interchangeably and for any audience.
Communicating with CMS Users
It was important to notify our CMS community that while their content would change in appearance, only some components would be retired or change functionality.
Email notifications began 10 weeks in advance of the launch and featured essential information, schedules of information sessions to attend, and a rotating section introducing new website components. The Digital Communications Specialist hand-coded each email to ensure mobile-friendliness.
The Digital Communication Group's Twitter account was also utilized to post updates, tips for how to use the new website, and behind-the-scene looks of the launch process.
Campaign emails were mobile responsive and reflected graphical elements from the new design.
Launch Announcement Video
Following the launch of the refreshed NYU website, we also shared a celebratory video on social media. This was created using design material used throughout the campaign in addition to live recordings taken during the actual launch.
Sharing Our Process
In July 2018, I represented NYU at the eduWeb Digital Summit in San Diego along with our Digital Communications Specialist, where we discussed the planning process behind our communication strategy for the redesign of the NYU website. We also provided participants with a communication planning guide that they can use and adapt to support their own communication efforts.
Learning Design for CMS Users
In total over 21 component tutorials and 13 introductory tutorials were created or rewritten to support CMS users. The overall layout for online training material was also reorganized to create a clear online journey for new users and make it easier for existing users to find specific content.
13 introductory tutorials
21 component tutorials
All users were invited to attend information sessions where our Digital Communications Specialist and I provided background on the redesign project in addition to previewing the new site. This session was recorded for those users unable to attend in person due to scheduling or location conflicts.
Introducing mobile friendly templates
The refreshed NYU website design introduced CMS users to an entirely new kind of page template. Previously users built new pages based on a grid layout system, but in the new design they have to adapt to templates based on percentages. This video was created to show CMS users how their content reflowed across various screen breakpoints in an easy to follow format.