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Getting Rowdy just got an upgrade

Office of Admissions’ website redesign showcases exceptional student experience – and interdepartmental collaboration.

By Cory Phare

April 18, 2018

MSU Denver AdmissionsThe digital front door to becoming a Roadrunner has a modern new look.  

Launched April 2, the new Admissions website is more than a clean aesthetic – it’s optimized to improve the process of applying to Metropolitan State University of Denver.

“The goal was to have the new site function like a digital admissions counselor,” said Erene Hilentzaris, assistant director of admissions for recruitment communications. “We want to guide students through each step of the way.”

A joint effort between Admissions/Enrollment Management and the Marketing and Communications Office, the redesign process formally began in November, though initial conversations had started earlier.

After looking at years of data, it was a good opportunity to pinpoint issues that people were experiencing and simplify how users got directly into the application,” said Miguel Garza-Wicker, director of digital strategy.

Some of the tools Garza-Wicker’s team used to do that included page-view statistics and traffic analytics, heat-mapping to measure where people were clicking, path analysis to see broadly how they arrived at various sections and feedback from recently admitted students to see what worked and didn’t work for them.

After gathering the various research elements, the next step was to work with teams from Admissions to identify the fundamental information needed to apply. From this, they were able to build wireframe models and substantially reduce the number of hurdles for prospective students.

“That matters,” Garza-Wicker said. “We were losing prospective students by creating confusion. Now they only need to look at a single page with step-by-step instructions on how to apply to MSU Denver.”

In addition to streamlining the site from more than 80 pages to a mere handful, the group also saved the University a substantial sum of money by completing the project with in-house expertise instead of outsourcing it. Plans are also in place to have the viewbook – a substantial recruiting tool handed out to prospective students at fairs and events – mirror the content of the website, making the entire approach more integrated.

Ultimately, it comes down to improving the first step of the Roadrunner experience.

By placing individual academic programs front and center, future students are directly connected to the reasons they come to MSU Denver – along with a clear way to start that journey. Working with Garza-Wicker’s team to do that was a positive venture, Hilentzaris said – and, as an iterative process, one that’s continually ongoing. 

“Websites are like living, breathing things,” she said. “They need consistent care and are ever-changing. We’re excited about this launch but are continually gathering feedback from staff and students to make adjustments as needed. Always transforming!”

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