New university website aimed at prospective students

Hannah Feakes

The Brand Strategy and Integrated Marketing Communications team pushed back the launch of the new Quinnipiac website because they were performing final testing across platforms and devices, according to Vice President of Brand Strategy and Integrated Communications Keith Rhodes. Rhodes said that the site is aimed at prospective students and their families.

Many students agree. Samantha Stoica, a sophomore health science studies major is one of those students.

“I most definitely think the website is geared towards prospective students rather than current students, and it’s actually frustrating,” Stoica said. “I can’t even find Blackboard. I do think that it’s important for the website to appeal to both new and current students, but I really can’t say that when I was applying I took the website into consideration.”

Prospective students and their families are the exact audience the Branding team wanted to attract, according to Rhodes.

“Through extensive primary and secondary research and heavy inspiration from global brand user experiences that are getting it right, our strategy was to focus the new website experience on prospective students to ensure that it met their needs,” Rhodes said.

Although the external website is directed towards incoming students and parents, MyQ serves the needs of current students, administration and staff. It made the most sense to shift the content that was sitting on the previous website to MyQ, according to Rhodes.

Some of the content for alumni and parents that appeared in the old site design are not redesigned or updated yet. Rhodes said that those pages were planned to be addressed post launch. The team wanted to focus on getting the pages that address prospective students launched and going first, according to Rhodes.

“[The branding team has] active projects that are underway to move the alumni content onto the new experience and to build a parent’s’ portal,” Rhodes said. “This was always planned to be a phased roll-out, and there should be no confusion; this was not a misstep or due to some unplanned circumstance.”

Stoica thinks the new website should mainly apply to current students rather than incoming ones. She said it is not very useful to current students.

“I think it goes along with the fact that this school is just trying to bring more money in,” Stoica said. “It’s a little frustrating that the demands of current students aren’t taken as seriously as prospective students.”

When someone searches for QU faculty on Google, a page with the QU mascot, Boomer, lost in the woods comes up with the words ‘Uh oh!’ and tries to redirect the viewer. Although Rhodes confirmed that those pages are not part of the new website and they are not a mistake, the old webpages are still top links when searched online.

“There is not a one-one relationship from pages on the old site and pages on the new site,” Rhodes said. “We restructured everything in a different and better way and some URLs that used to have one page that they went to, no longer have a direct link, which is why we created a smart error page with links to help them get to where they need to go.”

The branding team did extensive research with both top digital marketing communications agencies in New York and what prospective students look for in a website, according to Rhodes.

“I think that it’s extraordinary for many reasons, and we’ve received and continue to receive considerable feedback on how the experience is a game-changer for not only Quinnipiac, but higher education in general,” Rhodes said. “We just raised the bar and set a new standard with this website, and I am hearing just that from everywhere.”

The website will keep getting smarter and smarter, according to Rhodes.

“We are never done,” Rhodes said. “The more that we optimize the experience based on our learnings. Of course, we will also continue to craft new experiences to meet the needs of other audiences, as they are important too.”