Website redesign for international university
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences is an international higher education institution established in 1987 in the Netherlands. It specializes in business administration and management, offering multiple bachelor's and master's degree programs. Wittenborg brings together students of over 100 nationalities, creating a family-like environment where internationalization, diversity, and ethics provide the foundation for global learning.
Website redesign and issue solvingCHALLENGE
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences needed a website redesign. The website was built on an outdated theme and its homepage was overloaded with many content blocks and clickable elements that hindered students’ user journey. In addition, the interface wasn’t mobile-friendly and the website’s search engine wasn’t optimized with the best UX & UI practices in mind.
Also, the website encountered a minor inconvenience with an embedded YouTube video, which was restricted in certain locations due to YouTube policies.
Apart from that, the university experienced several content management issues:
- The whole site had a block-based structure. When a certain block was changed, that change automatically reflected on every page where that block appeared, which was often inconvenient.
- Content and layout elements were mixed. Layout elements were mixed with content in the HTML editor, making it challenging to separate content from the presentation. Sometimes the layout could be accidentally disrupted during content updates.
To add more, the website didn’t rely on any dependency management tool, so all the modules, updates, and code libraries had to be managed manually, which was time-consuming and error-prone.
To solve the mentioned issues, Wittenborg tasked AnyforSoft to redesign the website.
Drupal 10 custom theme development with focus on mobile-first approachSOLUTION
The project started with the discovery phase. Since the website’s backend was built on Drupal 9, which was coming to its end of life at the time, it was decided to migrate to Drupal 10 and use a new Drupal theme. Once the website was transferred, our team initiated Drupal 10 custom theme development with a focus on a mobile-first approach.
Our objective was to make the website mobile-friendly and ensure its smooth performance on every device, so we relied on the PageSpeed insights (Lighthouse) tool in our work. By introducing responsive images and videos, improving banners for better performance on mobile devices, and using other mobile-first design best practices, we managed to receive high website performance scores and pass the Core Web Vitals assessment.
The biggest changes were introduced to the homepage. We decided to make it more marketing-oriented to help the university better recruit students and improve their user journey. Namely, we eliminated excessive elements, created clear CTA buttons and placed them prominently across the page, and added interactive elements for visual appeal. This resulted in a neet-looking homepage with straightforward navigation that offers a seamless user journey.
To improve the user journey even further, we introduced UI & UX improvements to the search engine. Now it works smoothly and suggests relevant information for search queries, ensuring students and applicants can find what they are looking for. We also managed to resolve the issues with YouTube video restrictions. More specifically, we built the video paragraph that allows the university to add videos to its own server instead of embedding them from third-party platforms. As a result, the videos are now accessible from any location.
To simplify the working routine of content managers, we switched several pages to a paragraph-based structure, allowing them to edit these pages independently. We also rebuilt several pages and content types to avoid the mixing of layout and content elements in HTML editors.
To streamline the work with the modules, updates, and code libraries, it was decided to transition the website to a composer-based architecture. Our team installed and configured Composer, facilitating package management, dependency resolution, version control, website updates, and other dependency management processes. Now instead of time-consuming and error-prone manual management, the Wittenborg team can rely on a valuable tool that simplifies and automates these critical website maintenance tasks.
The joint effort of our team resulted in a quality website that fully meets the university’s needs and requirements. Peter Birdsall, the president of the university, was personally involved in the project and praised the exceptional quality of work and dedication of our team.
As a result of our efforts, the Wittenborg team received a website with:
- Improved mobile UX and smooth performance on desktop and mobile devices confirmed by high scores in Lighthouse.
- Accurate search engine that provides relevant information, helping students and applicants quickly find the information they are interested in.
- Composer-based architecture that simplifies and automates dependency management processes.
- Marketing-oriented, attractive, and interactive homepage that converts visitors into students.
- Simplified content management without issues.
- Good performance in every target country.
AnyforSoft continues to work on this project, providing maintenance and support services.
While redesigning the website, our team developed the following features:
Custom Drupal 10 theme: We created a custom theme with responsive images, optimized banners, and a mobile-friendly interface that works seamlessly on any mobile device.
Composer-based architecture: our team installed and configured Composer to simplify and automate dependency management processes.
Video paragraph: we built the video paragraph that allows the university to add videos to its own server instead of embedding them from third-party platforms.
Improved search engine: Our team reworked the website’s internal search engine to make it more effective and accurate
Paragraph-based structure for several pages: we improved the paragraph-based structure, allowing content managers to edit pages independently.
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