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Website Redesign Project:Background & Goals


Old Dominion University's flagship website, www.odu.edu, is the digital entryway to the University. It serves as the first experience and first interaction with ODU for prospective students and their families. The website serves as a fundamental component of the University's communication strategy and is the digital home for all recognized University entities and a resource destination for numerous audiences. The website is jointly managed by the University Communications Digital Team (University Communications) and Web Development (Information Technology Services).

Project Purpose

Launched in fall 2020, the ODU Website Redesign Project's goal is to develop a new University website that provides a better experience for all site visitors and users. Additionally, we would like to create a site that is modern, accessible and creates a cohesive user experience that tells the Monarch story to the world.

Background & Process

The current website was originally designed and developed in 2010 with a refresh in 2016. While the current site was innovative when launched, it became clear that one of the university's primary assets needed improvement. Analytics and feedback have shown that users struggle to find information, resources, and pathways to their desired destinations. The technology and structure used in our current website has also proved to be a challenge to maintain. Research consistently shows that a university's website is one of the most trusted sources of information for prospective students and parents. As a result, we need a site that provides the experience, content, features, and technology that our visitors need and expect.

Since the launch of the project, the Website Redesign Core team (made up of members of the University Communication Digital Team & ITS Web Development) has worked together with our vendor partner KWALL- a premier web design agency specializing in higher education websites - to create a webiste that showcases ODU to it's fullest potential.

After evaluating several content management systems (commercial and open-source) and talking to internal stakeholders, University Communications and Information Technology Services has chosen Drupal as the CMS for the university. Drupal is a growing and popular CMS in the higher-education community with many institutions like Stanford, Duke, Arizona State, Oregon State, Harvard, Chicago, Yale and Ohio State currently using it. The University Communications Digital Team and the ITS Web Support Team will be assisting each unit in planning their migration, construct their site navigation, as well as training on how to use Drupal. The migration sequence for each unit is being guided by university leadership and will be done in consultation with each unit.

This will be a multi-phased project. The Website Redesign Core Team has reviewed the existing website structure, completed focus groups with faculty/staff, students & stakeholders, adopted a web strategy and information architecture, completed the design phase of the new websites pages, and is currently in the development phase and readying to begin content migration. To view the timeline and learn more abou the phases of the redesign, click here: Project Phases & Timeline.

Primary Goals

  • Create a more compelling experience for site users, especially prospective students
  • Guide visitors to their desired destinations with a user experience that encourages desired action
  • Mobile first and responsive design that speaks to target audience
  • Communicate key messaging from the University more effectively
  • Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Be a model for accessible and user-centric design
  • Better organized information architecture
  • Provide friendly interface and tools for site administration users

Questions about the redesign project?

Visit the ODU Website Redesign Project FAQ page. If you don't see your question, please email webredesign@odu.edu.

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