New Business School Website Delivers Top-Notch User Experience

Posted on August 24, 2011

Focused, compelling and easy to use, the new business school website was created with visitors in mind.

The site, which launched on Aug. 19, has a completely new structure and all new content. The only thing recycled from the previous site is the address –  www.duq.edu/business.

According to Dean Alan Miciak, the new site’s structure and messaging was planned to function as a “declaration of who we are and what makes a business education and Duquesne distinctive.” That declaration, he added, is expressed and affirmed in the phrase “Business from a Higher Perspective,” which appears prominently on each of the new site’s pages and promotes the school’s emphasis on the principles of responsible management education.

The improved functionality and clear, persuasive messaging will make the site an essential medium for communicating with business school and University stakeholders, particularly prospective students and alumni. Feedback from the business faculty and current students has been very positive, Miciak reports.

In the way it works and in what it says the site underscores the fact that the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business is forward thinking, with a global outlook and a stress on ethics that are not lately adopted accommodations to market forces, but informing concepts with deep roots, a legacy of the University’s founders.

“We are all here to serve others and to make a difference in their lives, and Duquesne prepares business professionals to do that,” Miciak said. “That’s the story we want to tell, and our new website will be an indispensible medium for communicating that idea.”

Anyone familiar with the former site will perceive the new site’s succinctness. It comes in at just over 300 pages; a remarkable concentration of content when compared with the old site, which over the years had accumulated more than 3,000 pages. Yet, the new site is full-featured, with separate landing pages for undergraduate and graduate programs as well as pages that highlight faculty members’ credentials, publications and interests.

The new website also makes liberal use of video. The short videos, one or two on each page, allow visitors to see and hear students, alumni and faculty members speaking about the School of Business and the principles for which it stands. The videos appear alongside captioned photos, each a hyperlink to more detail about the hallmarks of a Duquesne business education.

The redesigned site is the culmination of more than a year of effort and collaborative partnership among the School of Business, Computing and Technology Services (CTS) and Public Affairs; the planning and request-for-proposal process started in the summer of 2010, and work began in the fall of that year and intensified in the first eight months of 2011. Pittsburgh-based Mind Over Media, a firm with numerous higher education clients, including Carnegie Mellon and Duke universities, was hired to design the site.

Two members of the business school’s staff served as the principal project managers from the beginning: Courtney Cox, marketing, communications and special events manager, and Jamie Doring, web and communications specialist, and numerous faculty and staff provided input along the way.

Cox, Doring and the group were charged with producing a site that would be easy to navigate and would communicate clearly the unique character of the School of Business—nearly a century of scholarship and service that has been put into practice by its faculty, students and alumni. At the same time, the new site would have to complement the University’s existing website template and use Ingeniux, the content management system that the entire University will adopt later this year.

The rest of the University’s website will be redesigned over the course of the next 10 months through an effort coordinated by CTS and Public Affairs with vendor partner Barkley REI, a full-service interactive marketing agency with higher education clients across the country.

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