Washington University - Brown School

Be the Change

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As one of the top-ranked Schools of Social Work in the country, the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis attracts students from around the world, many of whom have their first experience with the school on its website.

Objective

Brown School’s website had become an unregulated repository of information, and lots of it. Without a content plan and strategy, the site had grown organically into a maze for visitors to navigate. A complete website redesign process would focus stakeholders on the user, unite the school under one digital strategy, and clear up confusion about appropriate content.

Strategy

Through a series of facilitated stakeholder sessions, we collaborated with decision-makers to focus the site on target audiences. We further expanded the role of the website in attracting the best students to Brown School through a content strategy that engages applicants by highlighting faculty research and sharing the groundbreaking work of alums.

Plan it Out

The Almanac website process includes stakeholder planning sessions centered around reviewing wireframes, or “blueprints” for the completed website before any color, copy or design is applied. In this way, we focus on functionality and user experience without distraction. In Brown School’s case, this process helped us reunite two program microsites with the main site.

Content, Content, Content

Higher education sites must appeal to prospective students and deliver an astonishing amount of information in an orderly, and hopefully enjoyable, way. By helping the Brown School rethink its content with the user in mind, we streamlined, simplified and connected.

brownschool.wustl.edu

Results

The Brown School’s digital footprint is now clear and strong and presents a unified, authentic picture of the work and learning that go on there. Through content and design strategy, we created a site that balances the information-seeking needs of prospective students, with the goals of the leadership team, telling stories about the research, the thinking and the people that make Brown School the well-respected institution it is.

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