Wentworth Institute of Technology is a technical design and engineering university in Boston, Massachusetts. Wentworth is continuously investing in creating transformational educational experiences for its students and embracing a culture of innovation and creativity.
The goals of the institute translate directly into the digital experience they need to provide to visitors of wit.edu, their current and prospective students, as well as faculty and staff. Last Call Media has been a close partner of Wentworth for years, helping them accomplish important milestones and solve challenging problems: to create an inspiring and meaningful user experience, develop a seamless process for hundreds of content authors, and finally, tackle inefficient development processes.
How we did it
Design to turn a vision into reality
We began by really thinking outside the box of what a college website “should” be. The institute was looking to showcase their commitment to innovation, diversity and inclusion, as well as exceptional educational experiences. Last Call Media collaborated with the Wentworth team to create their new branding direction and to turn this vision into reality. The Last Call Media design team created a fresh, vibrant new look for wit.edu to capture the attention and excitement of the school’s two key audiences: prospective students and their parents.
After translating existing static graphic designs into UX/UI prototypes with an eye towards accessibility, we introduced the Wentworth team to a new and improved method of designing and site-building by utilizing a design system, so that the site could be built in a systematic way as opposed to every page being conceived of and built individually. This way of building the Wentworth site would set us up to create a great-looking site while having an efficient development phase, and playing to Drupal’s strengths, flexibility and customizability.
A consistent, sitewide visual language
To avoid the need to uniquely design and theme every element on every page, Last Call Media created a maximally efficient workflow for Wentworth. We created a consistent sitewide visual language that becomes more intuitive the more users interact with the site.
We implemented a design system-based strategy for the redesign, defining a number of styles and components that would be reusable throughout the site. It included:
- 40 styles (for things like colors and text styles),
- 50 elements (which can range in scope from things like buttons to entire sections of pages),
- 10 fully-responsive page designs—many of these involving multiple design iterations.
Authoring experience for hundreds of content creators
Within an organization like a college or university with often hundreds of content authors, it’s key to remember that site and content changes will often be coming from multiple people throughout the school, who all have varying levels of experience and comfort working within a CMS. This was absolutely the case for Wentworth, and so we varied the flexibility of each content type based on who would be building them. Content types that would be handled by the more experienced members of Wentworth’s web and marketing teams were allowed maximum flexibility—they can essentially put any component on any page they want, in any order they want. Content types that would be used by a wide array of authors with inconsistent levels of technical expertise offered a more structured layout, in order to minimize complexity and maintain the integrity of the website’s information architecture and UX/UI.
The impact of continuous delivery and maintenance
Over the years, we’ve worked with Wentworth to implement industry best practices in terms of programmatic coding, database architecture, and staged deployment and automated testing workflows. Our first engagement with Wentworth involved completing a large set of outstanding updates, setting up Single-Sign-On with Shibboleth, configuring Apache Solr with multicore for development along with boosted “more like this” search results, and other search enhancements.
Our Core Services team was also able to complete Wentworth’s site migration to Pantheon on a tight timeline of less than a week, prior to the school’s Thanksgiving holiday in 2017. This has led to significant cost savings for the school, and provided a clearer path to empowering their small internal development team; the workflows on the new platform were easier for Wentworth to manage, and they benefited greatly from the multidev environment feature.
Our work with the Institute has spanned everything from regular core and module updates, migrating their site to a new hosting platform, to refactoring user groups, URL structures, to accessibility updates and SEO best practice improvements. We maintain a close working relationship with Wentworth in order to continue offering advice and guidance on how to make the most of Drupal
Through a refreshed online presence, the new wit.edu represents Wentworth’s commitment to creating transformational educational experiences for students, and a culture of innovation and creativity. Wentworth is now able to provide site visitors with a more accurate picture of what Wentworth is really about to help them decide whether they can see themselves or their child succeeding at Wentworth.
Last Call Media is proud to have been Wentworth’s partner in improving user experience, creating a seamless process for making content changes for hundreds of content authors, and modernizing development processes.