Bringing a University’s Mission to Life Online
Across a wide range of websites and disciplines, the University of Arizona works to attract the next generation of problem-solvers.
As the state’s oldest university, the University of Arizona has a rich history of education, research and innovation. In an effort to help UAZ continuously lead the way in developing thinkers and leaders, we redesign existing college websites, plan annual editorial and create content for the homepage, and design initiative-centric new sites that position the university as a thought leader in various fields.
Drawing inspiration from a magazine-style planning process, we worked with the university to develop an annual editorial calendar for their homepage that reflected seasonality, campus happenings and college-wide priorities. From there, we brought the stories to life, interviewing students, alumni and stakeholders, digging into university-led research, and creating guides and resources to help students succeed.
As the university’s digital home, the website is often the first impression of UA for prospective students and faculty, as well as for peers at other academic institutions, parents, media and the larger community. As the specific colleges and departments within UAZ make strides to attract new students and faculty, they turned to us to create websites that would support their efforts.
With a student-first strategy in mind, C/A designed sites to help each college attract new students and communicate with existing students, while also supporting the needs of the faculty and larger community. From stakeholder interviews to sitemaps and design, we created sites that help elevate the college’s perceived quality, attracting top students from around the world, while recognizing and honoring the UAZ’s status as a land grant university and positioning each college as a top choice for Arizona students.
Programs & Initiatives
Given its location in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, the university is uniquely positioned to lead academic conversations around issues like the border and the environment. To do this, we worked with campus-wide programs to create broad initiative-driven websites, highlighting the important research underway and positioning the university as a thought leader and resource in these fields. As part of each website, we created an online journal that can serve as a home for the rich stories about the UAZ’s work, tapping news writers to examine the biggest stories of the year through a university lens.
The UA Foundation’s success is critical to the success of the university. To help elevate their fundraising efforts, we redesigned their site, leveraging the homepage as a tool to excite and inspire potential donors. We employed the power of storytelling in an interactive, sortable content hub, engaging donors around the many ways the university uses their gifts to give students a world-class education. And because each fundraising campaign has its own specific needs, we designed a readymade landing page template for the foundation to have at the ready.
For Bear Down Network, the university’s online gathering place for alumni, C/A conceptualized, wrote and sourced images for the landing page serving as the portal into the network. We also built a content hub, a trove of magazine-style stories sharing career advice and spotlighting intriguing alumni. Every step in the story-creation process, from interviewing sources to writing subheads, was geared toward the university’s goal: increasing membership and growing the network.
Once the writing and visuals had been polished, our team developed a promotional campaign of social media and display ads. On Facebook and Instagram, we targeted various audiences, positioning stories and tailoring pictures based on intended readers. In the ensuing months, we tracked ad performance. Based on our metrics, we slightly repositioned ads that we believed could capture more members for the university.