Redesigning the University of Montevallo

For those who seek personalized, hands-on education but crave the excitement of a large university experience — meet Montevallo, where you’ll never get lost in the shuffle.

How do you take a public liberal arts college (which is an amazing thing, btw) in the middle of Alabama, and make it stand out? How can you convey that this small, niché school is a great choice for you, even if you don’t fit into the “granola” crowd? That was our challenge with the University of Montevallo — an incredible university located in the heart of Alabama.

The old website was pretty vanilla. It had a homepage, a secondary page, and a campus map. It was well designed but lacked a story. We knew we had to change that.

Focusing on the Students

The Montevallo team did an excellent job at facilitating the process and acting as a collaborator for new website. They understood the importance of the prospective student and allowed us to design a website that put the students first. A University often has many competing audiences, so balancing those on a public facing website can be challenging. However, with Montevallo, they recognized the necessity of a clear and strategic approach. They let us run with it.

Component-Based Design

The new website was designed as a series of components — flexible building blocks that would allow their marketing team to design and craft complex pages long after the initial buildout. We collaborated with their team to design and develop a website that could grow with them. Every top-level page is unique in design and content. Each tells the story of the section and creates a strong jumping-off point for our various audiences. It also allows for future expansion within the marketing program. Unique, trackable landing pages can be easily created that match the website feel perfectly — a great tool to have at your disposal as an internal marketing coordinator with simultaneous campaigns running.

Areas of Study

One of the largest gaps we found in higher education designs is the siloing of programs and content. Many schools divide up their website by the individual maintainers — making their areas of study or degree content cluttered and hard to find. Often times, these pages are buried 3-5 levels deep and primarily found via organic search.

With Montevallo, we wanted to change that. We created a global “area of study” tool that took the various programs from their different colleges and cataloged them into one large search. Users are able to filter down the list by degree type, college, and use an open-ended search that helps them find the program they’re looking for. Once they find it, they can go to that program’s deeply-nested page and get into the nitty-gritty of what makes it great.

 

A Seamless Experience

The Montevallo website needed a seamless experience across all devices for all users. From the start of the project, we put extra emphasis on the user experience spanning various devices as well as ADA compliance. Everything in our designs and code were built to satisfy Section 508 and AA compliance rules. Our colors and font sizes were all checked, and content editors were given the tools to keep the website friendly for all. We also ensured the website components worked at multiple breakpoints without hiding or losing important content throughout the experience.

Small School, Big Opportunities

Overall, the Montevallo website was an amazing project to work on. We helped bring the digital vision of the University to life and create a website that better sold their story. We worked with their team to transfer and re-architect thousands of pages into a CMS (content management system) that better matched their needs. We created an experience that students enjoy and does the school justice.

Give it a look and let us know what you think: montevallo.edu

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