The NIU website is a prominent representation of the university to both external and internal audiences. It’s a vital component of university marketing and a flexible embodiment of the NIU brand. The NIU web team is dedicated to the consistency and accuracy of the NIU website. We work to ensure that content is user-friendly and aligned with NIU’s communication standards.
In 2016, after extensive research and evaluation led by a steering committee, the web team began to implement a set of process improvement recommendations. The recommendations addressed topics such as website conversion and training processes. They were designed to lead to more efficient procedures, improved content and increased educational opportunities.
Holly Nicholson, web team manager, was one of the leaders of the process improvement project. She believes the project was valuable for its broad scope: “The project involved stakeholders from across campus. We included people who use our process and those who are directly affected by it.”
Nicholson says they learned how to better plan for web projects and ensure that the process works for everyone involved. She also notes a focus on cost efficiency: “In a difficult financial landscape, it was important for us to do more with less, as we focus on improving the NIU website to help attract and retain students.”
Implementing the Recommendations
The web team has made great strides in fulfilling the recommendations. We introduced a streamlined website conversion process, for example. We also implemented a web training program to provide guidance and support to employees who maintain websites across campus.
The web team has also converted dozens of sites into the newest templates, improving content and site structure along the way. Despite a recommendation for hiring several new employees, the web team has accomplished these goals with limited staff time and resources.
Brian Walk, director of web strategy and services, approves of the team’s progress. He says the recommendations have made the team’s daily work more focused and that the overall quality has improved.
Walk notes that “our support and quality assurance processes are more efficient and productive. In addition, we’ve trained over 200 page managers across campus on topics such as writing for the web and accessibility. All of these factors contribute to a stronger web presence as a whole.”
In the future, the web team will focus on converting the remaining sites into the newest templates and continuing to improve our processes.
Web Team Progress by the Numbers
October 2016 to August 2018
- Sites in new template: 267
- Sites to be converted: 85 (approximately)
- Training sessions offered: 81
- Employees who received training: 218
- Support requests fulfilled each week: 65 (on average)