SVC Design Wins 'Outstanding Website' Prize

by Public Relations | Nov 14, 2017

Nov. 14, 2017

Alex Byers, Cindy Hoffman, Suzanne English

Saint Vincent College’s website has been recognized by the 2017 WebAwards and given the “Outstanding Website” prize for its recent redesign.

Designed to engage the attention of prospective students, the updated Saint Vincent website was created in collaboration with the Kyle David Group (KDG) on a website design that was launched on Oct. 6, 2016. As one of the few colleges in the country to have Benedictine monks living, learning and worshipping in an Archabbey and Seminary which share the campus, the site captures this unique and welcoming environment in its newly-designed website.

The site scored 62 out of a possible 70 points, well above the industry average. A creative “explore your interests” feature for prospects helps garner the site a high score for innovation. In addition, design, copywriting and content were all awarded near-perfect scores by judges.

In addition to winning the “Outstanding Website” prize, the site was also one of three “Best in Show” nominees in the very competitive colleges and universities category.

“We enjoyed working with the team at SVC, getting to know the school, its campus and its students,” commented Dan Stover of KDG. “We’re thrilled that the judges recognized the school’s site after the hard work all of the team members put into it.”

“One of the most attractive features of KDG was the firm’s emphasis on incorporating best practices in all aspects of the process,” explained Suzanne Wilcox English, vice president of Marketing and Communications. “Because a primary target audience for the website is prospective students ages 16 to18, the company interviewed current students on campus on their use of the site and performed research using subjects in that range as it considered revisions for the site map, ensuring that the subjects could locate and perform the most important functions prior to making recommendations for change.”

All design and functionality is based on Google design standards and requests for changes or preferences among different designs were evaluated through user testing. For instance, click tests were performed to ensure viewers could find the request to take a tour of campus, a specific major, the academic calendar, information about alumni or how to make a gift, while five-second retention tests determined if the most important information on a page was making an impression. In addition, users were shown a page and asked to answer questions about the information it contains, to ensure that information is easily found and understood.

Prior to the design phase, best-practice pages were identified among a wide-ranging set of institutions nationwide, with new functionality requested for evaluation. Competitive analysis tests were performed, again using the target age group, with the Web pages of competitors. Each was evaluated for message focus, consistency, uniqueness, usability and opportunities for improvement. That information was then considered and most-desired practices including clean design, user-friendly navigation, dynamic header images, use of rankings, statistics and reviews, and more images of student life on campus, were all incorporated into the designs.

The transition process was led by Cindy Hoffman, director of web services, who served as liaison to KDG. She coordinated meetings of the primary team, which included CIO Peter Mahoney, Roberto Wisnesck and Doug Carns of Information Technology along with English, digital marketing specialist Jared Bundy and digital media specialist Alex Byers of Marketing and Communications.

The Saint Vincent College URL is www.stvincent.edu.

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Photo: Alex Byers, Cindy Hoffman and Suzanne English display a screen capture of the new Saint Vincent College home page.

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