Edinboro launches brand new website

Category:  News
Thursday, February 11th, 2021 at 3:20 PM
Edinboro launches brand new website by Nicholas Constantino

Edinboro University students and staff got a big, yet pleasant surprise when typing in “edinboro.edu” on Jan. 30. A brand-new university website was waiting, complete with expansive drone shots of campus, handy infographics describing Edinboro offerings, and more noticeable social media integration. Meanwhile, the color scheme is pure Edinboro, with a few PASSHE accent colors.

According to Edinboro University Vice President for Marketing and Communications Angela Burrows, “we were in desperate need of a website redo. Our former site was outdated.” The new digital home, according to Burrows, will “give us the ability to showcase the university the way it should be showcased.”

But even though the website launch is fresh news to the majority of EU’s population, it is actually part of something much larger. This redesign was an 18-month project, and “the website is kind of the last piece of a lot of work that has been done over the last three years,” she explained.

Before those 18 months, Burrows said that the university “did a lot of work as precursors.” This included a branding campaign, creating a new advertising strategy, redoing admissions mail flow, and decreasing print pieces.

“So, all that work was being done, [and] social media strategy changes as well,” said Burrows. This meant the website had to be saved for last. In other words, the website is a combination of everything else.

According to Burrows, the website was changed completely. “We work with a company out of Boston, iFactory, and they’ve done more than 500 higher ed[ucation] websites. So, we wanted a vendor partner who had extensive experience … publics, privates, large, small (schools), we were truly looking at best practices because we know that prospective students are looking at a range of types of different schools in a majority of cases.”

She continued: “So, design is different, site architecture is different, site navigation is different ... We have far fewer pages. We started out with about 3,000 pages on our old site, we’ve got about a thousand on the new site. Copy has been scaled back dramatically, we have more images, more video. So, it’s a much cleaner, more contemporary site.”

“We use a storytelling approach, as opposed to ‘here’s the information’ in a very straightforward way,” she explained.

Another new feature of the website is a new content management system for backend support. “It’s much more sophisticated. It is the premier higher education content management system,” said Burrows. The new system is also currently being used by Clarion University and California University of Pennsylvania, the two schools Edinboro is aiming to integrate with in the coming years.

In regard to feedback, “we’re going to be looking at analytics over time and comparing them to what they were with the old site,” said Burrows. “We don’t have that data yet, but in terms of that anecdotal feedback, it’s been … really good.” One early issue was slow access to the site when using Edinboro's network; the issue has since been corrected.

When asked what she personally thinks of the website, Burrows stated, “I love it.” She mentioned how compromises certainly come into play with larger projects such as this, and the new website was no exception. “Despite that, we were able to … produce a site that more than met our expectations. We wanted a state-of-the-art website that could go head-to-head with any higher education website in the country,” she said.

Burrows is “incredibly proud” of the end product and gave a special shoutout to one individual in particular. “I’m incredibly proud of the work of my team. It was a team effort; just everybody rallied, everybody worked really hard over the course of more than a year … I’d like to give a special thanks to Chris Loveland (Edinboro’s director of digital strategy), because Chris managed the project from start to finish. It was a yeoman’s job, and he did it and did it exceedingly well.”

Currently, no decision has been made on whether the website will undergo further changes in the future with the process of integrating Edinboro with Clarion and California. “It’s been discussed as a possibility but we have not … we’ve not come to any conclusions.”

When asked about any future challenges concerning the website, Burrows stated: “It’s an evolutionary process, you know. We continue to find things that need to be added or refined. So, one of the things we want to add is a lot of information, like our right to know requirements have to be on the page.” She hopes to have any similarly related problems resolved by the end of the month.

Students can find the my.edinboro portal by clicking on "Menu" at the homepage, and then "my.edinboro."

Nicholas Constantino is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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