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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014

Partly Cloudy, 72 °F

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Renea Morris, Executive Director of University Communications and Marketing

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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Branding OHIO through its website: Part 1


As part of a university-wide branding initiative to revitalize the Ohio University brand, a redesign of the front door is underway. University Communications and Marketing (UCM) maintains design and content on the homepage and several secondary pages with support from two main campus-wide governing bodies – the Web Advisory Group and the Marketing Advisory Council. UCM partners with the Office of Information Technology (OIT), which is responsible for technical maintenance, availability, security, and overall function of the site.

The primary mission of OHIO’s website is to present content and a user experience that will attract the best and brightest students as well as elevate the perception of the brand.

Last spring, a university-wide ohio.edu redesign group was formed and tasked with analyzing and reviewing user feedback and current Internet trends to make recommendations for the evolution of OHIO’s homepage.

As a result, the front door will move away from an audience orientation and feature topic-driven navigation to guide users more intuitively. In support of that approach, new key categories have been identified to drive the navigation, which are About OHIO, Academics, Research, Admissions, Athletics and Life at OHIO.

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Specific objectives of the ohio.edu redesign initiative are to:

1. Design with future audience engagement on multiple devices in mind

2. Streamline content distribution on front door and secondary pages

3. Deliver content purposefully, informatively, and engagingly

4. Create flexible design templates to meet varying University needs

Maintaining a consistent online brand experience is important so that users know what to expect. Because first impressions are often lasting ones, it is critical that OHIO’s website meet and even exceed the expectations of visitors.

In the next Branding OHIO column, I will discuss key findings from students regarding their top reasons for choosing Ohio University and the needs of this audience, which helped form the basis for the design strategy.