Sancta Sophia College is a residential college associated with the University of Sydney, with three streams to their business:
- Accommodation for university students
- Out of semester accommodation for the general public
- Hosting of events on the college premises.
The college’s old website wasn’t effective at defining these separate business streams, nor was it geared to two other critical functions – keeping student residents up to date with events and news, and keeping college alumni feeling connected to the college, which is critical to fundraising.
In addition to those problems, the old site was in need of a design freshen-up, and it housed a vast amount of information, which needed to be re-organised and also extensively re-written. What’s more, Sancta weren’t taking advantage of the growth in social media and sharing – especially appealing to the college’s primary target audience of university students.
- Build a new site that enables continuous updates by college staff to make the site dynamic
- Promote the business streams by incorporating key information for each on the home page
- Bring events to the fore so that they are well publicised and attended
- Engage the college alumni
- Make the large amount of information from the old site useful and accessible
- Update the site design
- Take the first small steps towards social media integration
Built on WordPress, the new Sancta Sophia website benefited from a complete rethink of the architecture of the site, and the use of space on the home page to promote Sancta’s business streams. Thinkun edited down the site copy to make it more web friendly, and incorporated a Sancta Twitter feed as well as an easy to update event calendar on the home page. These work in combination to ensure Sancta events come to the notice of all the different types of site visitors promptly.
Also on the home page, Thinkun brought Sancta news to the fore, by presenting the news blog-style with a set of keyword tags that ensures the prompt location of news content that’s pertinent to each type of site visitor, whether current resident, prospective resident or alumni.
Design-wise, Thinkun implemented a colour palette, shapes and imagery that complemented the architecture of the beautiful Sancta buildings and grounds.
- WordPress implementation with event calendar functionality
- Site architecture that defines content related to business streams
- Integration of Twitter feed and social media sharing mechanisms
- Blog used as mechanism to categorise and convey news related to type of site visitor
The new Sancta site design was tested on a representative group of current residents, with unanimous agreement that the new layout was more informative and visually appealing than the previous design.
Site visitors now gain a far better feel for the essence of the college. Prospective residents are able to get a better feel for what it’s like to live at the college, while current residents and alumni can become much more linked in to daily life and special events.