Ideas, insights and inspirations.

In working with over 100 colleges in the last 25 years, we have learned that website projects are a catalyst for transforming a college — stakeholders are aligned, power structures are reconsidered, the organization is energized, a new inflection point is created, and destiny becomes attainable. To realize the true promise of redesigning your website, five essentials are necessary: Wise Strategy Revenue Strategy, Communication Strategy and Search Engine Ranking Strategy are the three building blocks of a Website Strategy. In redesigning your website, these three components must be orchestrated, prioritized and baked into every aspect of development and design. Ultimately, you become the story you choose to tell, and that story begins with wise strategy. Beautiful Design Strategy is invisible. Good design makes it visible. Milton Glaser once said “There are only three reactions to a piece of design: no, yes or WOW! Wow is one to aim for.” We agree. Responsive, mobile first, and beautiful design deepens meaning, delights … Continue reading

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As discussed in a previous blog post, we recently redesigned the Carnegie Mellon Today online magazine. With this redesign, the focus changed from a print-based quarterly issue to an online-only site with new stories both produced and promoted on a weekly basis. With roughly 80% of existing site traffic coming to articles (a number that is expected to increase with this new model), one of our project goals was to create an explorable experience that engages readers and increases the flow of traffic through the site. Keeping that in mind, we set out with a few ideas. A website’s navigation is it’s roadmap. It is the best place to start engaging the audience. We also know that it is the most popular way to explore. Like most navigations, ours is visible and consistent throughout all of the site, however, it becomes minified as readers scroll through articles, creating less busyness on the page while still keeping the navigation close by … Continue reading

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The statistics are rather unsettling. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 1,658,370 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2015 and 589,430 people will die from the disease. I wrote about my own cancer scare years ago for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and I always thought I could only fight cancer on a personal level. I eat veggies, stay active, slather on sunscreen, get a mammogram and donate money. What else can one person do? That all changed when I was asked to work on the website redesign for the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC). Now I had a chance to use my writing talents to help nurses who care for cancer patients, which in turn, helps those battling this disease. At Elliance, a website redesign doesn’t just mean put a few pretty pictures into a new layout. We ask questions. We think. We ask more questions. Then, we combine what we’ve discovered about the client … Continue reading

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In a perpetual state of evolution, healthy organizations, like healthy people, completely reinvent themselves every seven years. In the digital era, the burden of telling the world about our current essence falls increasingly on our web presence. To treat website redesign projects as just another ordinary project is pure folly. A website redesign project is a tremendous opportunity to: 1. Imagine a greater future. A website is an important part of an organization’s stretch goal. It reflects a healthy mix of an organization’s current reality and as-yet unrealized potential. 2. Modernize your story. Constant self-reflection leads to new ways of re-imagining one’s stories and the metaphors we live by. A website must speak in one’s honest voice. 3. Enhance your unique selling proposition. Times change. Society changes. Values change. What people value changes. What organizations emphasize in their sales arguments changes too. A website should articulate the unique selling proposition in a language that resonates with contemporary values. 4. Build … Continue reading

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When it comes to connecting with potential customers and other key audiences, your website is perhaps the most important tool you have. But no matter how brilliantly designed and well written your website is, it won’t last forever. It needs to be refreshed or redesigned to keep up with changes in design and technology trends. If you’re considering a website redesign, here are a few questions you need to ask: Does your website reflect your brand’s current reality? The visual design of your website may be one indicator that it’s time for a refresh, but dig deeper and you may find that your brand position is no longer being accurately represented or, even worse, may have never been clearly established. Is your website generating a consistent supply of qualified leads? While reversing this trend may require adjustments to your overall business strategy, it may also require a reexamination of your supporting web strategy and tactics. This could also indicate the … Continue reading

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The Website is not your #1 lead source or sales source The website doesn’t exude your passion, craftmanship, and thought-leadership Words are used but they are not weaved into compelling stories There is more telling and less showing The website frustrates prospects who can’t find what they want within 3-5 seconds It’s unclear to a user why prospects should pick you The prospects can’t see how you served other similar customers Mechanisms don’t exist to increase word-of-mouth with RSS and social media sharing tags The photographs are weak and videos are few The website doesn’t appear on top of search engines for important keywords your prospects are typing

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