Re:Design Blog - Lenoir-Rhyne University

Re:Design Blog

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Web Redesign Project

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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Campus sidewalk and building in late summer

Web Redesign RFP

A web redesign Request for Proposal (RFP) provides detailed information about the goals and objectives for our project. It’s a document that we can share with prospective vendors who we want to partner with on the redesign and redevelopment of our website.

To get to the next iteration of LR.edu, we will be starting from a blank slate—completely new design, new user experience and information architecture, new content strategy, new content written on brand, new content management system (CMS) for managing content, new technology and hosting platform, etc.

Included in this post is information about our project goals and requirements for the new website as is detailed in the RFP.

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Students cheer at game

LR’s Digital Footprint

The LR website is just one component of the university’s digital footprint. It serves as an important hub for university marketing and communications to our many audiences, including prospective and current students and parents, alumni, faculty and staff, donors and friends, the media and general public.

Our audiences learn about LR and transact with the university across our digital footprint. A consistent and positive representation of our brand is essential to our bottom line and in raising the university’s regional and national profile.

When we think about the redesign of LR.edu, we are not just referring to our website. All components of our digital footprint must work together to present a cohesive brand experience since any single component can be the basis for our audiences’ initial introduction, impressions and feelings toward the LR brand.

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