Widener University Law Schools
About Widener University
Widener is private university with not one but two law schools, located in different states. For many years the law schools were one entity with two campuses. A few years ago, their strategic marketing partner was asked by the university to help them separate the identity of the law school into two unique and distinct schools. Soon, the marketing partner knew it was time to hire a development firm who could help them achieve their goal of building new websites for two law schools at once, with separate identities, functionality, and content.
Widener University is home to two separate ABA-accredited law schools. The schools focus on practice-ready graduates emphasizing clinical practice. Ignition72 was proud to partner with Widener to design and build these two unique sites.
Learning + Planning
Because we had to build two separate websites, we started from scratch. We worked with the marketing partner to granularly plan each site. This was a months-long effort involving surveys; in-person interviews; numerous on-campus meetings with faculty, staff, current and prospective students; and a lot of user experience research.
We worked with the deans of each school to help organize their content and point their attention at the need to create new content to introduce each school to their audiences.
We investigated their website needs in terms of the admissions staff, the dean’s office, the faculty, current students, and prospective students, interviewing members of each group to uncover the functional elements they needed on their sites.
Because of delays caused by the summer hiatus and the busy schedules of the stakeholders, planning was not completed until the end of the year. This left us just 8 weeks to build TWO websites simultaneously, so they could be launched in early March.
Using the Open Source CMS BigTree, we set to work immediately, building out content types and page templates, setting up both sites simultaneously. We finished the sites within 6 weeks, leaving them 2 weeks to load content before we completed full testing.
Design + Development
We launched the websites in time for the public announcements of the two new schools. Both sites are still in use today, and have grown considerably to reflect the student level in each school.
Extremely detailed planning in this case was key – otherwise the sites would have taken much longer to build. Every detail was mapped out and approved by the client during the planning phase, so no time had to be spent seeking approvals.