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Emory’s Top Ranked Business School Transforms With Drupal 8

A website replatform and redesign illuminates the student experience, legacy, and value of Goizueta’s programs

Project Highlights  

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School ranks as a top-tier business school. For over a century, Goizueta has evolved its educational programs to meet the changing definition of today’s business leader. 

The website is Goizueta’s core digital asset and a key investment to achieve this mission. Standing in the way was a legacy Content Management System (CMS) platform, a scattered web ecosystem, and a design that was out-of-sync with student engagement goals.  

Goizueta partnered with Mediacurrent to connect the dots between the brand narrative, Drupal development, and digital user experience. The new design captures the depth of opportunity available to the school community, from on-campus resources to international education programs. 

We were using a legacy CMS that didn’t afford us the flexibility or functionality to deliver a modern, dynamic design or user experience. Mediacurrent helped us solve this problem through a design and user experience that aligned with our brand and engaged our audiences. 

Nicole HitpasChief Marketing and Communications Officer

Why Drupal 8?

  • Flexible and adaptable to support evolving needs
  • Open source software proven in higher education 
  • Scalability of front end and back end features
  • Structure supports accessibility compliance

The Challenge

To compete with top-20 business schools, Goizueta needed to capture the essence of the student experience and communicate it via the website. In order to do this, the web team strove to sharpen their website and digital processes as well as empower users in the authoring experience to create thoughtful digital user experiences.

Stuck on a legacy platform, non-technical editors faced a cumbersome publishing process. The team dreamed of editorial flexibility to communicate the school’s one-of-a-kind community culture. 

The goal to increase prospective student engagement and applications called for a fresh, attention-capturing design strategy. Critical to Goizueta’s digital success was Drupal 8 — an experience management platform that evolves with them. 

Mediacurrent’s Solution

The Mediacurrent design team delivered with a visual presentation full of Emory’s imagery and branding, employing several patterns of persuasion in the design system. Beyond visual appeal, the design provides prospective learners with an intuitive way to explore a wide range of program offerings and initiatives. Animated components create focal points on data to establish authority and social proof.  

When Emory needed a more flexible foundational platform, Mediacurrent’s Rain install profile eased the transition from Cascade to Drupal 8. Mediacurrent’s front-end team executed this challenging design and upheld web accessibility standards throughout, creating flexible, inclusive and reusable components. 

Tailoring Content for Higher Education

Step one of the redesign: uncover the data needed to make better decisions. We worked together to define not only how the new Drupal 8 platform would achieve usability, content authoring, and accessibility goals, but also reach broader operational marketing and revenue objectives. 

Mapping the Journey from Prospect to Student 

A digital strategic analysis explored user behavior, providing actionable insights to inform design and development, foster engagement and boost conversion rates.

Defining Goals and Key Performance Indicators

mapping ux on a whiteboard

Organizational goals were defined and remained at the forefront of all decisions to ensure the website served Goizueta’s mission and purpose. Establishing KPIs guided our Google Analytics audit to ensure Goizueta could confidently measure and track their progress.  

Creating Content that Connects

pencil on paper

 User personas based on demographics, personal values, and primary usage channels were created to inform site navigation decisions and support Goizueta’s ultimate goal of effectively communicating their brand promise. A sitemap, user journeys, and desktop and mobile wireframes defined clear conversion pathways. 

Design for Emotion 

From visiting the campus to exploring the school’s communications, signage, and publications, we immersed ourselves in Goizueta’s culture. At the same time, we collaborated with the Goizueta team to learn about what worked in the current brand and what did not.

A mood board served to set the tone for the new design system, where shapes from the school’s beautiful architecture serve as brand elements to speak to the Goizueta promise: business for the greater good.

Emory homepage before and after

MIA: Brand Personality

With a fatigue of saturated photography, lack of emotion, and diversity in the narrative, the design fell flat. It also lacked harmony in brand attributes; typography, color and shape elements.

 

Bold, Bright, and On-Brand

Now, landing and program pages offer two image options for more diversity. Branded color overlays allow for a full-color photojournalism style and a more emotional design.

 

Design for Engagement and Results

Micro-interactions, such as the rollover states on the card component, encourage users to click through to second-level program pages

High Converting UX

UX features such as full-width call-to-action breakers and dynamic comparison charts nudge users to conversion.

Goal-Oriented

To capture the attention of prospective students, meaningful micro-interactions increase time on site and conversions.

Accessibility Minded

Built for accessibility from the ground up, ensuring the website is compliant with legal standards and inclusive of students of all abilities.

Development

Component-Based Drupal

Mediacurrent’s development team tested the limits of Drupal 8 to put full publishing control of the content for the flexible components into the hands of non-technical editors.

Across the site, 64 custom components allow for great flexibility and scale in the authoring experience. Paragraph Handlers serve to preprocess components in a much more streamlined manner.

​​​​​​​Rain: A Streamlined Starting Point for Development

Mediacurrent’s Rain Install Profile provides a set of out-of-box editorial features and enhancements for Goizueta — beyond core Drupal 8. 

  • Rain provides developers with a codebase to build off of that employs Drupal 8 development best practices, reinforcing continued adherence to development best practices after code is handed off to Goizueta. 
  • Rain standardizes the approach to architecture, ensuring consistency, repeatability, and reliability across projects. 
  • Rain saves setup time by instantly providing common functionality beyond core Drupal, out of the box. 

Top Modules 

  • The Paragraphs modules lend flexibility to content editors. Editors can now build beautiful and flexible pages that fit their needs, without sacrificing for functionality or accessibility. 
  • Using the Paragraphs Library submodule enables content editors to create content once and publish it across a variety of pages.
  • Goizueta needed a solution to empower various departments to own content on the website. Workbench Access allows for more granular control of permissions, limiting the editorial flexibility of departments to certain areas of the site. 
  • Workflows and Content Moderation modules provide editorial checks so that only verified and reviewed content is published to the website.
  • Migration - Vast amounts of content on the site came from various sources. Some content was scraped from an older CMS (Cascade), some content came from spreadsheets, and some content is fed in continuously from several API endpoints. The flexibility and power of the Migration module (and all its supporting modules) allowed us to consume information very efficiently.

Integrating with External Systems 

Built to integrate with external systems, Goizueta’s new Drupal platform connects to Slate and Expertfile. This provides a foundation to share forms, faculty profiles, and other data. 

Comparing Programs 

A Drupal-powered interactive React component allows prospective students to dynamically compare Goizueta programs.

Emory program comparison


Final Thoughts

Going beyond a website redesign, the strategic decision to adopt Drupal 8 nets Goizueta an experience platform primed for growth and risk mitigation. The new standardized platform enables the marketing team to showcase the student community, legacy, and value of Goizueta programs. 

We’re proud to continue supporting that mission through our next phase of partnership post-launch.