University of Missouri Grad Studies New Website - Jesse Hall and the Columns

Time to Ditch the Old-School Look 

The University of Missouri’s School of Graduate Studies was facing two major online challenges. First off, they were using a website platform as old as the school itself… Okay — maybe not quite that old, but it was definitely time for something a little more intuitive and and a lot more robust. Major problem number two: the Grad Studies website had changed hands several times over the years, resulting in duplicated content and absolutely no sense of organization. 

The School of Graduate Studies wanted a site that could meet the following goals:

  • Offer an organized and appealing site that will aid in college recruitment.
  • Create ease of use and simply navigation to effectively deliver resources to students.
  • Lay out resources intuitively with minimal repetition.

The University needed a new website, and they didn’t have to look far to find it. They chose MayeCreate Design to build their new online presence. As an approved vendor for the University, we understand the ins and outs of the University’s standards, specifications and identity guidelines. Plus we’ve always enjoyed working with Mizzou labs and researchers in the past, so we were eager to take on another project for our wonderful neighbors at the School of Graduate Studies.

Exam…ining Their New Website

The University of Missouri Graduate School plays an important role in facilitating enrollment for graduate programs and administering these programs across all departments. Their main purview includes recruiting new students from all over the world for a wide variety of degrees, as well as serving current graduate students by providing resources from housing information to the school’s professional development program: Grad Essentials. Obviously, the choice in graduate education is not to be taken lightly, and today the search typically begins online. The School of Graduate Studies needs a site that provides a powerful first impression, promotes the University’s high level of excellence and exemplifies Mizzou’s prestige and reputation. Grad students are busy, so it is imperative that the website be organized and intuitive. That way students can find their resources quickly, allowing them more time to focus on their studies and less time worrying about redtape.

We had to put our thinking caps on to organize all of their website content. Through multiple consulting sessions (and the magical power of flow charts), we condensed over 450 pages (what?!) to under 200 (yay!) and removed a multitude of duplicate pages and content. 

This was a good start, but there was more work to be done in order to achieve online excellence:

The Degree Programs section is the most visited on the site. We have streamlined the page so that programs are easy to locate. They can now be sorted by:

  • First letters, alphabetically.
  • Degree type (Doctoral, Interdisciplinary, Minor, etc…).
  • Or by location (Online, On Campus, or Mixed).
University of Missouri Grad Studies New Website - Search Filtering Features

Each area of study automatically pulls all degrees underneath it. Each degree contains further details and dynamically pulls the contact information for the respective program director and department coordinator. This contact information is cross-referenced with the directory in the Faculty and Staff Resources section of the site to make it even easier for prospective grad students to find exactly what (or who) they’re looking for. 

University of Missouri Grad Studies New Website - Events Calendar

Events too, can be found throughout the site. All events are displayed on a universal calendar on the Events page. Upcoming Professional Development events can be found under Grad Essentials, events covering diversity and inclusion can be found on the Inclusive Excellence page, and all events can be found, once again, on the Home page. With multiple points of visibility, site visitors can’t miss out on any of the exciting opportunities provided. In addition to viewing upcoming activities, visitors are also able to submit events to the calendar. This is very useful for professional and student organizations.If approved by an administrator, an event will be added automatically to the proper calendars.

What about the people who actually run the school? Last but not least, we were able to help keep the faculty and staff organized through the Faculty and Staff Resources section. Here organization members can easily share announcements, forms, contact information and many other details amongst their teams. It serves as a great way to share information and messages internally.

Some other notable feature of the site include:

  • Mobile Friendly Design – Adaptive Template
    Websites that are mobile-friendly with adaptive templates will be served more often on search engines to people using their mobile devices.
  • An intuitive Events page that is integrated with other pages, and allows for easy submitting and exporting of entries.
  • Custom WordPress Theme
    With Custom WordPress Themes, the website design is unique and the structure is flexible, scalable, and easily manageable. Let’s just say websites with custom WordPress themes aren’t forced to reside inside the box.
  • Safe Site Plan
    The new MU Graduate Studies websites is enrolled in our Company Safe Site Plan, meaning we’ve enhanced the site in an effort to offensively protect it from hackers. We backup the site daily, maintain regular WordPress and plugin updates, and monitor site activity and link function.
  • Updates & Ongoing Maintenance
    It’s imperative to keep content fresh with regular updates to keep clients and prospects interested. With their website completed, we help MU Graduate Studies stay on top of their game by performing requested updates and changes to the website as requested.
  • A section devoted to Funding: presenting options to make graduate education more attainable. With in this section viewers can be directed to available scholarships, financial aid, campus job opportunities, and more.
  • A donations page, labeled as Giving to Graduate Studies, provides an efficient method of giving to the organization, helping the University to further deliver quality degree programs. This page offers multiple channels for donating, as well as information on tax and income benefits.

The University of Missouri School of Graduate Studies’s new website is a textbook example of what an institution’s online presence should be. With a new site, students will have more access to the resources necessary for their educations. We like to call that a better site for a brighter future.

Are you looking for a website?

Do you have a website that doesn’t match up to your great reputation, or do you just need a site in general? Contact the team at MayeCreate Design. We believe websites work when good design meets solid functionality. Our web designs always aim for ease of use and clear communication. Check out our portfolio for a look at our other projects and to get your pride on… today.

More about the Author

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Stacy Brockmeier

Stacy has a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education from the University of Missouri. Stacy is the Project Manager and Account Service Representative for all projects and aids in office coordination. She possesses an innate talent for communicating with people as well as planning. Her bubbly personality and positive attitude provide her with the ability to successfully connect with all types of clients.

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