Re:Design Blog

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Web Redesign Project

Two LR students talking at table in Shaw Plaza

Website Style Guide

We are excited to launch our new Lenoir-Rhyne University website style guide.

An essential part of any successful project is documentation. In building out a modular, component-driven website, documenting all the various design elements, components and page types is important to making sure we are all working from the same playbook.

Working with our partner, BarkleyREI, a style guide has been created to provide guidelines for usage, documentation and raw code for all of LR website’s patterns, components and templates. All of this is provided to assist us and our campus partners in creating, designing and developing robust and accessible digital experiences across all Lenoir-Rhyne web properties.

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LRU students in audience at 2021 commencement ceremony

Content, Content and More Content

The Marketing and Communications team is deep in the final weeks of content writing and editing for the new website. We are working to finalize content that will begin to be migrated to the new website starting the week of May 17 through June 30.

We are maintaining an aggressive project timeline in order to launch the new website in early August. We hope to have a small window of time in July where programs, offices and departments can review the website and submit suggested edits to content.

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Amari Brown works on BLM mural

New Homepage Design

We are excited to unveil the design for LR’s new homepage. To get this point, we have carried forward what we have learned through each stage in the redesign project so far.

  1. Content Strategy – We started with an approved content strategy. Through our content strategy work, we identified more than 15 different content types.
  2. Design Exploration – Content strategy work informed our design exploration, which set the design direction (visual language) for the new website.
  3. Component Library – We create a large number of components in our component library to serve all of our different content types.
  4. Interior Templates – We created more than 14 interior templates that are strategically used to help arrange content in the component library to serve the purpose of pages. The interior template work informs what we are doing with the homepage since we’ve put a lot of thought into the content types and components used throughout the rest of the site.

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Student wearing a mask hands out masks at information table

Interior Template Designs

We are excited to share with you a sampling of some interior template designs for the new website. With these designs, you can really start to see the new look for the LR website coming together.

Templates create context by strategically combining and arranging components to support the overall purpose of a page, e.g., high-level landing page, standard page, programs, courses, news and event articles, faculty and staff biography, etc.

In the page designs you see the overall structure and organization of the components within specific page templates.

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Professor lecturing to students at front of class

Submit a New Faculty Biography

Every Lenoir-Rhyne University full-time faculty member will have a faculty biography webpage on the new website. These webpages will be linked to from the new campus directory as well as appear on academic program pages with other program faculty.

New submissions and updates for faculty biography webpages can be submitted using a simple online form at www.lr.edu/faculty-webpage-updates.html.

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Student wearing a mask works in science lab

Academic Program Website Questionnaire

Creating more robust and engaging academic program pages that better reflect the LR student experience and academic excellence is a top priority for the website redesign project.

We are asking all academic programs to complete an academic program website questionnaire. The answers and information provided through the questionnaire will help Marketing and Communications improve the web presence for each academic program.

Questionnaire Online Submission Form

We have created a simple online form that can be used to submit completed academic program questionnaires and additional documents, photos, etc. Multiple files may be uploaded to the questionnaire by choosing the files on your computer or by dragging and dropping the files to the upload area of the form.

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Charge sculpture of bear lightly covered in first snow of season

Preview of New University Calendar

Marketing and Communications invites you to preview and submit events to the new university events calendar at https://calendar.lr.edu.

The new university calendar is part of the website redesign project and presents a more engaging view of events at Lenoir-Rhyne (all three LR campus locations) and will replace the current calendar on the LR website. As part of the calendar launch, Marketing and Communications is scheduling a couple upcoming “tech talks” on Feb. 18-19 on how to use the calendar as well as how to market and promote LR events. A video recording of the session will be made available for those unable to attend. 

Calendar Tech Talks

Learn more about the new university calendar, how to add and update events, how to marketing and promote your events and event marketing timelines and checklists.

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Professor talks with student in science lab while student in foreground works on computer

Component Library Designs

In a previous post, I shared the initial design explorations for the new website that included both design elements (purposeful elements that are the foundational building blocks of a design system, e.g., color, iconography, typography, etc.) and design patterns (functional and repeatable configurations of elements that perform specific functions through user interaction (buttons, inputs, dropdowns, etc.).

In this post, you will find designs for the various components that will be seen throughout the new website. Components convey meaning by combining patterns to support specific content types, e.g., carousels, menus, accordions, media types, content featurettes, etc.

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Students wearing masks in classroom

Localist Selected as New Campus Calendar

We are pleased to announce that Localist has been selected as LR’s new campus calendar. During December and January, Marketing and Communications will work to populate the calendar with content and switch over the calendar on the current website to Localist. As part of the redesign project, Localist will be integrated into the new website.

Sometime in January 2021, we will begin promoting the calendar within the university community. We will schedule a couple “tech talks” and walk event organizers through how to add events to the calendar. However, no training is needed to submit events to the calendar since it offers a simple, easy to use event submission form.

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Student registering to vote on LR campus

User Personas, Sitemap & Navigation Development

During September and October we worked to develop website user personas and the new website’s sitemap.

It’s important to understand what goals we are trying to achieve with persona and sitemap development during the user experience phase of the project.

  1. Develop an intuitive, user-driven architecture with clear navigational pathways for prospective students, current students, parents, and other important tertiary audiences.
  2. Ensure that all campus and graduate pathways are represented to support an engaging, efficient user journey.

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Students walking across campus with masks

Web Redesign Discovery Findings

BarkleyREI conducted remote discovery sessions with LR stakeholders August 11-28, 2020, to learn more about the university, analyze the existing LR web presence, understand the wants and needs of users and to uncover key insights that will inform the strategic direction for the redesigned website.

BarkleyREI met with more than 70 faculty, staff and students from across LR’s three campus locations: Hickory, Asheville and Columbia.

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Students talking in coffee shop

Web Redesign Discovery Sessions

We’re excited to kick off the web redesign project with virtual discovery sessions with various university groups and departments/offices the weeks of August 10 and 17. BarkleyREI has been busy the last few weeks getting to know LR through provided publications, research, website analytics, brand messaging documents, etc. We are looking forward to having BarkleyREI meet and talk with groups across the university.

In this post we provide a tentative schedule for project discovery.

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Morgan Parker, Visitor Writers Series, speaks at Lenoir-Rhyne University

Rethinking the University Campus Calendar

A robust and publicly accessible campus calendar builds community around events while publicizing the hundreds of events that are scheduled on campus each academic year—lectures, presentations, performances, music, theater, films, art showings, athletic games, among many other event types.

As detailed in our web redesign RFP, the current LR campus calendar does not meet the needs of the university. In this post, we explore some of the desired features and functionality we are looking to implement in the redesigned campus calendar.

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Students working in lab

Agency Selected for Web Redesign Project

After a lengthy review process, which included participation and input from a review group of faculty and staff from the Hickory, Asheville and Columbia campuses, Lenoir-Rhyne has selected BarkleyREI from Pittsburgh, Pa. for the redesign of LR.edu.

A big thank you to the faculty and staff who assisted in the review of vendor finalists. Your questions and perspective informed our review and selection process and we are grateful for your work.

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Students studing in library

Digital Marketing & Advertising

Incredibly important to LR’s Digital Footprint, the university’s website is just one component of our digital strategy. The LR website serves as our information and transactional hub and as our most important marketing and communications vehicle.

A poor visitor experience can hurt websites in numerous ways, including turning away prospective students and donors because the website is difficult to use, doesn’t communicate our brand or isn’t set up with calls to action that request visitors’ information at the point when they are most interested in LR (aka conversions).

Another important component of a strong digital strategy is digital marketing and advertising.

Digital advertising is an effective strategy for increasing brand awareness of LR, our programs and our priorities. Instead of depending solely on prospective students finding us by visiting our website, we get our information in front of them on the websites and services they regularly visit or at the top of search results when they are looking for specific keywords.

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Student writing on a whiteboard

Modular or Component-Driven Web Design

One requirement for the web redesign project is to design and build a site that has an ultra-flexible design framework consisting of a large number of modules or components. Instead of thinking of our website as a number of page templates, we think of it as a series of parts, which when combined create a variety of page layouts and designs.

This kind of site development is referred to as modular or atomic design or component-driven design.

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Professor and student embrace during commencement

Faculty & Staff Assisting with Vendor Proposal Review

One of the objectives of the redesign project is to conduct a transparent process and include input and involvement from across the university, while also having a small enough group where we can continue to move the project forward.

I have asked a representative group of faculty and staff from LR’s Hickory, Asheville and Columbia campuses to assist Marketing and Communications with the review of submitted web redesign project proposals.

The review group will review submitted written proposals as well as participate in proposal presentations from vendor finalists over Zoom video conferencing.

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Young fan cheers in stands at game

Web Redesign Project Timeline, RFP Sent to Vendors

The Web Redesign Request for Proposal (RFP) has been sent to nine vendors, all of whom have extensive experience working with higher education institutions as well as in other industry verticals, including healthcare, travel and tourism, nonprofits, governmental, among others.

We anticipate a 9-15 month project timeframe with site launch occurring during a semester break, either over the summer (May-early August or during January winter break).

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