ServicesWeb Design & Development
Rice University’s Jones School of Business isn’t well known outside of the South, but it should be. With a new dean at the helm, Rice’s business school approached us to reinvigorate the design and technology of their site, and to focus the messaging. Among the challenges: highlight the school’s unique strengths, including a pioneering entrepreneurship program, to engage prospective degree and non-degree students while seamlessly serving the current cohort and alumni.
The old site was confusing and difficult to navigate. Content that was internal-facing and utilitarian was mixed with external-facing marketing content. The school’s biggest selling points — its close-knit culture and hands-on student support, its focus on big-picture thinking, and the benefits of its location in America’s most diverse and fastest growing city — didn’t come across. The result: Prospective students had to dig to discover why they should consider, let alone prioritize, Rice as the business school for them.
Our first recommendation was to make the big back-end jump from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. This massive change allowed for a truly flexible modular solution to building site experiences and a more robust set of opportunities for functional features.
The school had a trove of videos sharing testimonials from alumni and students. The new modular design supports visual storytelling everywhere on the site. Images, video and a more strategic approach to the site’s request for information forms invite exploration and help prospects discover the program that matches their interests. We created a new menu structure and on-page navigational solutions that make it easier for prospects to delve into the school’s programs, including undergraduate, graduate and executive education, and to discover what makes Rice Business unique. We also forefronted — and defined — the Rice MBA, the school’s most popular degree program
The new design, while simple and streamlined, offers Rice Business effective opportunities to demonstrate its thought leadership. We integrated faculty-written articles from the school’s online ideas magazine,Rice Business Wisdom, on relevant pages, matching robust research content with related program information. The site shows, rather than tells, the story of Rice Business.
The site raises the profile of the school as an influencer in peer-reviewed research, perspective and analysis. And through focused messaging, the new business.rice.edu serves as a marketing tool that answers the question: Why Rice?