A Drupal Redesign for Georgia Tech Professional Education
Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) is an academic unit of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Georgia Tech is one of the nation’s leading research universities, ranked a top 10 public university by U.S. News & World Report. As the university’s global campus and lifelong learning arm, GTPE programs serve more than 36,000 non-traditional learners across the globe with digital and face-to-face courses and degree programs.
GTPE had an overarching strategy to deliver a unified and engaging digital experience for all University "customers" — aspiring and current students, lifelong learners, alumni, and industry partners. Important and central to this vision was a new website. Together, GTPE and Mediacurrent created a responsive, user-friendly interface with a new navigation and visual design to attract and engage learners and partners.
An Extended Team
Hear what Stefany Sanders, former Director of Marketing & Digital Strategy at GTPE, has to say about partnering with Mediacurrent on the GTPE redesign and ongoing web strategy and presence of GTPE.
- Integration with third-party marketing tools and communication platforms
- A highly secure platform protects student information
- Drupal’s open source technology (no licensing fees) is cost-effective
- Strong brand reputation for driving award-winning innovation for top universities
- Access to certified and experienced UX designers and marketing strategists
- Access to a deep bench of experienced Drupal developers to augment GTPE’s existing development team
- KPI-focused support services before, during, and after launch
I’m thrilled to see another of our strategic digital objectives come to fruition thanks to help from Mediacurrent. Partnering with you is one of our finest decisions.
Director of Marketing, Communications and Sales, Professional Education
At the start of our partnership with Georgia Tech Professional Education, we were tasked with auditing the existing site to provide both technical and strategic recommendations. It became clear early on navigation and content improvements were essential to optimize the user experience. GTPE recognized an increase in mobile traffic — and they needed to deliver a user experience that could measure up to any device. From a design perspective, delivering a unique experience within the university’s global brand standards was a challenge. But it also represented a landmark opportunity for GTPE to deepen audience understanding and more sharply define their unique value to learners.
Mediacurrent partnered closely with GTPE business leaders and technical staff to improve the user experience on their website through a deeper understanding of audience behavior. We incorporated changes to the site design, site search functionality, SEO, and GTPE’s content strategy. In-depth buyer personas were created to inform and tailor a reimagined content strategy.
We completed a content audit that focused on the questions and topics that GTPE personas are interested in to help increase search traffic and conversions. Then, we took action: optimizing fewer, more meaningful pages, consolidating duplicate content, trimming heavy text blocks, and boosting on-page SEO. With great content — and a navigation structure to reach it in fewer clicks — GTPE is positioned to stand out among university competitors.
Design and UX Approach
Mediacurrent’s design team used optimal white space which allows for the eye to rest and absorb clear messaging. The use of bright colors and imagery gives the site a fresh, positive, yet professional vibe. We restructured the navigation and implemented advanced search capabilities so that the user gets access to the info they need within a few pages or clicks.
Findings from our audience research drove decisions for a reusable component-based approach. Mediacurrent created a toolbox of repeatable components to easily incorporate important elements that speak to each persona:
- Video highlights
- Statistics to highlight the strong reputation GTPE has earned
- Interactive student testimonials
- Interactive Cards for Blogs, Featured Programs, and Faculty members
The result is cost savings and visual consistency, but most importantly, a consistent user experience across the site with elements that speak directly to the targeted user.
Branding and Engagement
- We established the behavior and creative direction for each reusable component, which provides significant flexibility.
- Incorporated GTPE brand guidelines with the expanded use of secondary colors (ie navy) to visually separate from the parent site.
- Updated the UI designs to engage visitors with interactions (e.g. interactive cards and testimonials).
- Paid close attention to ensuring all UI elements maintained sufficient contrast for WCAG AA compliance.
- Utilized fonts and colors to implement popular design trends (bold text and image overlays).
Human-Centered Design for Higher Ed
The shift to a persona-driven UX design improves the site layout, streamlines navigation, and increases engagement.
Living Style Guide
An Iterative Approach
Mediacurrent developers launched redesigned sections of the site incrementally, while not introducing regressions to untouched sections. We took an iterative approach to improvements, building toward our ultimate vision and making sure the user experience was fully vetted for ease of use. As we released new features and designs, we documented benchmark data and reviewed early trends, continuously improving the user experience.
Mediacurrent implemented component-based designs utilizing Ctools content types to create reusable components within the existing Panels-based layouts. These components were styled using BEM methodology which allowed us to style components without affecting other areas of the website.
A new module and several patches were created and contributed back to the Drupal community for this project.
Combining technical skills and strong communication with GTPE stakeholders of all disciplines a true partnership has formed. Post-launch, the momentum will continue through a support services agreement with an immediate focus on adding new features and further evolving SEO strategy. Google Analytics set up, training, and monthly reporting from Mediacurrent will help track KPIs and goals going forward.