Usability, Web Design

Transforming Your Website: From Content Management to Experience Management

Butterfly LifecycleWe’ve all learned that having fresh content is important to our website visitors. They want it to be current, accurate, and presented in a way that they can scan and absorb it quickly. Even as we have mastered this approach, the reality that we can be offering so much more is apparent. A key finding of the Digital Transformation in Higher Education study conducted by Digital Clarity Group is that “delivering an experience – rather than publishing content – is aspirational for institutions of higher education.”

Any time a visitor is on your site, he is having some sort of user experience. The critical question is what kind of experience is it? Great! Ordinary. Terrible! Most institutions using our OU Campus web content management system have made excellent headway in mastering the basics. Content works well on all devices and platforms, text is scannable, and pages are consistent. Is that good enough? Now is the time to elevate your site to the next level to meet the high expectations of your technologically savvy site visitors so you can impress them and impact their perception of your institution.

That is what transforming from content management to content experience management is all about. Six key areas to focus on in order to elevate your website experience are:

  1. Intuitive Design – When it comes to navigating your site, you don’t want your site visitors to even think about it. They should instinctively know where to go because everything is just where it should be. This is a major advantage of using OU Campus templates because they provide consistency with an intuitive structure.

  2. Interactivity – Examples of adding interactivity to your website include video campus tours, slideshows, forums, and comments. The Live Delivery Platform of OU Campus is just one of the available modules that can enhance interactivity. OU Campus’ open APIs also make it simple to integrate third-party web services or applications that enhance interactivity. These tools can make a huge impact on elevating your content experience.

  3. Innovation – Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an example of an innovation that can improve a visitor’s experience on your website. OU Campus makes it easy for you to add RSS feeds and OU Marketplace is a great way to find the latest and most innovative modules to add to your site. The innovative additions you make will set your site apart from the myriad of other higher education sites and leave a lasting impression that reflects on your college or university.

  4. Analytics – The best way to create a positive experience is by understanding your audience. Can you describe the typical visitor to your site? Do you understand their goals or know what they need and want from you? Using analytics to understand your website visitors allows you to improve their experience by giving them what they want. The OU Campus Site and Page Analytics Gadgets provide valuable intelligence on your visitors. Learning to use this information is vital to developing your content experience.
    Site Analytics
  5. Pepperdine Social HubSocial – College-bound students are skilled social media users and that means links to Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and other popular social media platforms must be featured on your site. Institutions of higher education face the challenge of organizing a wide variety of social media feeds for a large number of departments. Ideally, your social posts should be organized in a way where visitors can easily locate the content they are interested in so the socializing can begin. Pepperdine University’s Social Hub is a perfect example that uses the OU Mashup™ module to easily display content, sortable by school, from a wide range of social media networks all on one customizable page.

  6. Campus Tour SignupCalls to Action – Hold your visitors’ hands as they navigate your site by including a call to action on each page that points them to where they should go next. If they find themselves at a dead end and aren’t sure where to go, they may leave your site altogether. Is there a call to action that seals the deal for you? Sign up to visit our campus. Sign up to attend an information night. Make sure those are highly visible and use urgent language (Call, Register, Subscribe) to get them to act before exiting.

The Digital Transformation in Higher Education study summed up the importance of not leaving your visitors’ experience to chance. “The winners will be those organizations that recognize the need to take charge of the experience they deliver and proactively manage it to align with goals and objectives.”

OU Campus and its accompanying modules are impactful tools to help you achieve an outstanding content experience. Maximizing their use can help you take your site to the next level.

Share this article:

Sara Arnold

Web Communications Manager

Starting her career in academic publishing, Sara is a stickler for grammar and makes sure that every "i" is dotted and every "t" crossed in all OmniUpdate marketing communications that go out the door. A Camarillo native, Sara enjoys spending time with family, camping, doing anything crafty, and rooting for her ASU Sun Devils.