Improving the student’s digital experience with Sitecore CMS
Digital is one of the most important channels for the University of Leicester to attract new students and meet the needs of existing students. However, internal silos had led to a legacy of multiple websites which were difficult for users to navigate. The University wanted a new single integrated website to provide a consistent experience that would help them attract and retain students.
Improve user experience…
With multiple website platforms supporting different university departments, the university was struggling to integrate its disparate systems and were faced with rising maintenance costs.
The main objective was therefore to rationalise their existing sites into one, centrally governed platform that would act as a single website for the users.
As a major research university, the university wanted to be able to make its vast libraries of resources accessible in one place. Whilst much of their information was already publically available online, the university had no effective way of crawling their legacy sites, so were unable to surface all their content in a singular set of search results.
Reach wider audiences…
Another challenge the university faced was finding a way to reach out to wider audiences such as international students. With such a diverse range of prospective students, how the university communicated to individuals through its website had become increasingly important and highlighted the need to be able to optimise the online student journey.
Keep skills in-house…
Implementing a new centralised website represented the first phase of an ongoing digital strategy for the University of Leicester. It was therefore important that following the initial implementation, the university’s internal development team possessed the right skills and knowledge to continue development during future phases of their digital strategy.
Delivering the solution with Sitecore 8 Experience Platform
Improving user experience…
Eduserv integrated existing content, websites and databases to surface through a single website using Sitecore. This created an easy to maintain website that is optimised to meet the needs of its users.
The advanced search, which crawls and indexes content from both the main website and the existing legacy websites, gives users a simple way to access the wide range of research through a unified search.
Reaching wider audiences…
The personalisation attributes of Sitecore allow the university to automatically surface content relevant to the individual. This allows them to automatically tailor the language and message based on individual’s location. These personalisation features will help the university to shape their student’s future online experiences, and will assist them in their international student recruitment activities.
Keeping skills in-house…
Eduserv’s Solution Architect worked closely with the university architects to help map out the university’s complex information architecture, capture their requirements, define their project management approach, and support them through the university’s architect review board which oversees process and governance.
Once the first phase of the development work was complete, Eduserv carried out a knowledge transfer to the university’s internal development team to provide them with the in-house technical ability to carry out future work on the site. To simplify future development work, Eduserv developed the site with an ‘Experience Editor first’ philosophy; which allowed for the site to be updated from a front-end user perspective using Sitecore’s advanced WYSIWYG editor. This was complemented with a flexible, componentised design which allowed components of the site to be swapped, personalised and A/B tested with ease.
The new website is now live and can be viewed here: https://le.ac.uk/
A word from the Registrar
The Registrar from the University of Leicester had this to say about the project:
“We are very happy with the new website. It’s an excellent example of a project where collaborative working between various university teams and multiple external suppliers including Eduserv, has really worked well.
I’d like to thank you and your team for your contributions and the help and guidance that you gave to our teams as we were developing our skills and capabilities.”