WSU SELECTS WEBSITE DESIGNER
Westfield State University has partnered again with digital strategy and design firm NewCity to redevelop the University’s website. The project will improve the website’s performance and design so that it is more responsive and accessible to all users, while representing the institution in a consistent and compelling manner.
“Built using a solid technical infrastructure, Westfield State’s website redesign will be geared toward elevating the University’s brand position as a premier public university,” said Alyssa Goodreau, Westfield State’s director of marketing. “We aim to provide an intuitive, user-friendly web experience to understand and address our target audiences—their behaviors, needs, and motivations. That’s how we craft a five-star experience for them, and that’s where our success lies.”
Westfield State has an established working relationship with NewCity, having designed the current website several years ago. For this new project, a team of seven NewCity staff has been assigned—a project manager, user experience architect, content strategist, design director, art director, technology direction, and an analytics specialist.
“NewCity is coveted for its expertise, ideas, and inspiration, and we’re thrilled to work with them again on this extremely important project,” said Goodreau. “In addition, we’re confident this partnership will fulfill our traditional high school and transfer prospects’ online needs while extending our goals to include prospective graduate and continuing education students, and alumni so that our web initiatives seamlessly align with the University’s priorities and its desire to build lifelong connections.”
The project started in June with a kick-off meeting among a diverse working group of Westfield State representatives consisting of at least one member from each division, followed by 10 individual stakeholder interviews. Over the summer, a series of faculty and staff group discussions, workshops, and surveys will be conducted. Perspectives about University and project goals, opportunities, and challenges will be collected. The redesign is expected to be completed by summer 2021.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck project; everyone is encouraged to participate,” said Goodreau. “We want to uncover things we may not be aware of. This type of institutional knowledge sets the stage for our audience research and goals.”
The redesigned website will integrate modern visual and interactive design, strategic messaging, and media-rich content—all of which will highlight and support the University’s strategic goals. Faculty and staff will be provided a sustainable, manageable platform with the building blocks required to extend Westfield State’s web presence. Prospective students and their families can look forward to accessing dynamic, relevant content through a thoughtful information architecture and navigation structure.
“This project is a critical need for the University, as the website represents our front door to thousands of people every day,” said Daniel Forster, vice president for enrollment management at Westfield State. “Our presence in the digital landscape drives prospective families to visit our campus and also supports students, faculty, staff, and alumni to transact business and connect with each other.”
Goodreau added: “Understandably, students and families have a plethora of questions throughout the admission process. It’s our responsibility to provide those answers in a timely, accessible, and digestible manner. Our future Owls and families need to know that we’re here for them every step of the way. That’s what Westfield State is all about, and that’s the type of support and communication we aim to provide.”
NewCity, based in Blacksburg, Virginia, is a nationally recognized 28-member, full-service consulting, design, and development firm specializing in digital strategy and enterprise-level websites for higher education, large non-profit, and commercial clients. It first partnered with Westfield State in 2014 to redesign the current website, which focused on the needs of undergraduates and first-generation college students.
“This time around, we’re excited to expand that research to include graduate and continuing education audiences, as well as to bring industry advances from the past five-to-six years to build a site that can increase everyone’s access to a quality education at Westfield State,” said NewCity President David Poteet. “The University’s forward-thinking outlook and desire for continual improvement have never been more important than today. We’re proud to have been selected again as Westfield State’s partner for this next chapter.”