Brand new qu.edu

Quinnipiac to launch a new website next fall based on feedback from the community

By on October 15, 2019

Quinnipiac’s main website, qu.edu, will launch its redesign in the fall of 2020.

“The website really is kind of the key into the university,” Jim Ryan, associate vice president for the Office of Integrated Marketing and Communications, said. “It’s the one place where (people) get to go to see exactly what our university has to offer. We have an incredible story to tell and I think it’s very important that we make sure we get that story right.”

Screenshot from qu.edu
The website’s redesign was approved in April. Ryan said that it will no longer be targeted mainly at prospective students. It will now be aimed at the entire Quinnipiac community, from prospective students to alumni, and everyone in between.

“We have a new president, we have a strategic plan, the university of the future,” Ryan said. “We need to make sure the site reflects the things that are important in that plan, the four pillars of that plan.”

The new website is currently going through the design phase and the university is hoping to allow the entire community to give feedback. The process will include one-on-one and group interviews, focus groups and university-wide surveys. Associate Vice President for Information Services Janice Wachtarz said the process will help discover how the community envisions the website.

“I’ll take in everyone’s ideas, what they want and expect from the website and then narrow it down to an MVP,” Wachtarz said. “We need to launch our most viable product.”

Ryan stressed that the website will be in a state of constant improvement and that the new site will be easier to adjust and change as time goes on.

“No website’s ever perfect and no website’s ever done,” Ryan said. “We’re never going to be, OK, we built it, we’ve launched it, see you later. Right? That’s just not reality. That never happens.”

This will be the sixth iteration of Quinnipiac’s website. Wachtarz says that the average website lasts around four years. The current version of qu.edu will turn three in November.

Keith Rhodes, former chief digital officer of the university, was in charge of creating and launching the current website in 2016. He said that the current website is doomed to fail.

“Quinnipiac is a tuition-dependent university and the university website is the primary vehicle and communications flagship – where students actively learn about the university throughout their consideration process,” Rhodes said. “It has to be emblematic of the brand, driving prospective students through the decision funnel: awareness, interest, preference and choice.”

Rhodes said that qu.edu should remain targeted at prospective students and that the university should instead look at redoing or building sites that target different parts of the Quinnipiac community.

“The external website is not for current students, faculty and staff – this is why you have MyQ, which the team (at Quinnipiac) failed to properly redesign,” Rhodes said. “Alumni should use a website built just for them, so that their experience is also relevant.”

The university has limited details at the current time. There is no clear timeline for plans on the digital side, but Ryan and Wachtarz both said that the long-term goals of redoing the university’s digital landscape are to help have a better way for the university to communicate with students and faculty.

“You know, I think what we’re really looking at is a strategy for full digital transformation, right?” Ryan said. “And what does that look like? Yes, it’s a website, but it’s also if this is the foundational piece, we want to look at MyQ next, we want to look at mobile applications and we want to look at the digital signage around the campuses, right?”

Ryan said he also wants to look at the community as a whole, and make sure that the entire community is being communicated to effectively.

“How are we surrounding our students, our faculty, our staff, visitors, sports fans?” Ryan said. “How are we surrounding them with a digital experience?”

Rhodes said he stands by his work and believes that efforts would be better spent redoing MyQ and building spaces for each audience.

“As an award-winning marketing executive, an alum of the university, a former university Cabinet and Senior Leadership Team member, I am embarrassed by this waste of money,” Rhodes said. “That (money) could be going to student services or to funding faculty programs. It’s just a shame and example of the gross incompetence at the most senior levels there.”

Comments

About Stephen MacLeod