The New University of Denver Site In A Nutshell

At its most basic level, the new site will revolve around who visits the site. As you might imagine, every person who visits our site has a particular task or set of tasks they wish to accomplish. What this allows us to do is group the people with similar tasks into broad audience types.

For example, many site visitors want to earn a degree- psychology, law, marketing, etc. We can group these people together and call them “prospective students”. Using the same logic, we come up with a handful of other audience types all categorized around a group’s shared needs and wants. Other audiences could include current students, university employees, alumni and news media. These categories allow us to tailor the site to each audience’s needs without the burden or baggage of wading through information that isn’t relevant to them. Does a prospective student need to be presented with university employee work policies? No. This system allows us to sidestep this problem.

If we continue with our prospective student example group, we can subdivide them even further based on other tasks, needs and wishes. Through our research, we find that undergraduates want information on their degree program of choice and also a sense of what the university is like outside the classroom- the social scene, activities, housing, and the physical surroundings (both campus and the larger backdrop of Denver and the mountains). Graduate students also want extracurricular information, but their focus is more academically based (research opportunities, faculty, program requirements and rankings, alumni information, etc.). 

You begin to see how the site can be organized around needs rather than, as is currently the case, how the university is organized. This approach personalizes the site’s content around the visitor’s goals. Visitors no longer have to navigate their way through hierarchical levels of schools, colleges, divisions and departments which they don’t understand as a non-DU member. Instead, the new site will drive visitors to their program of interest quickly and easily. Once there, the site surround them with program specific information so they don’t have to chase it within other sub-sites in the DU universe.

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