Loyola University Maryland

Consulting, Co-development & Collaboration with a Major University

CMS Implementation

CMS Implementation

Content reuse is critical to large, complex sites with many content editors. Sitecore was the obvious choice, not only for its ease of use but also because its structure promotes the reuse of content. Sitecore’s hierarchical data structure means all content “lives” in only one place, but it’s easy to create content in one place and publish it in many places. It does this by promoting the building of relationships of data on the back-end with the use of metadata taxonomies—essentially maps of relationships between types of data. Through the use of these metadata taxonomies, TBG (The Berndt Group) created relationships between content such that novice editors needed only to tag content with available options to publish content in many places at once—useful for creating automated lists of related links, for example, or for simultaneously publishing one piece of content to multiple audience areas.

Co-development & Collaboration

Co-development & Collaboration

TBG provided training and mentoring so that our developers and Loyola developers would work in a co-development relationship. Loyola developers had already received general Sitecore training, but TBG developers mentored and further trained them to know the ins and outs of working with Sitecore on their own site. TBG and Loyola developers worked side by side on completing the project, ultimately representing a cost savings for Loyola. And as a result, the Loyola developers learned to plan, create, and manage their own environment for the most sustainable solution possible.

Loyola plus TBG

TBG & Loyola University Maryland

When Loyola College of Maryland was on the cusp of becoming Loyola University Maryland, the institution decided it was the right time to undergo a major site redesign to go along with the University’s major branding transformation. Implemented in Sitecore, the Loyola site was a large, complex site with many of the usual marketing goals associated with a university site. TBG (The Berndt Group) also integrated Coveo search for a seamless user experience.

The project featured a collaboration between TBG and Loyola’s branding agency, 160over90, handling the brand transformation from college to university. The goal of the site was to create a memorable idiosyncratic site experience more like a rich, full color magazine or college viewbook than a conventional website. But at the same time, the site needed to have excellent usability for a large site.

TBG partnered with Loyola to provide training to its developers to work in a collaborative co-development process whereby TBG mentored Loyola developers—essentially “teaching them how to fish” rather than doing the fishing for them. TBG also worked on secondary projects to support the redesign and implementation, including microsites for departments, and improving back-end usability for content management.

Some aspects of the design have changed over time, but the architectures TBG built are still very much in use.

In addition to this CMS Implementation project, TBG is a longstanding Web partner for the University, working on projects including CMS Selection; a faculty, staff and student portal; and a print and Web catalog publishing system for the University’s graduate admissions.

  • star iconFlexible, Adaptable Sitecore Page Templates
  • person iconNamed After St. Ignatius of Loyola
  • award ribbon iconBest Practices Higher Ed Site
  • graduation cap iconFamous Loyola Alum: Tom Clancy
User Experience

User Experience

Loyola’s multiple target audiences seek content that the University develops and updates on a varying basis. A limited number of page templates had to work to fit a heterogeneous set of content. For example, the graduate admission department updated content twice a week, while other departments using the same template not only updated content much less frequently but also had less content overall. TBG developed flexible, adaptable Sitecore page templates that would adjust to nearly any amount of content entered—copy and images—no matter the frequency. TBG delivered a consistent user experience across an inconsistently resourced set of content. And keeping the number of page templates relatively low meant a cost savings for Loyola.

Content Strategy

Content Strategy

Content needed to adjust to be memorable but ultimately useful to the site visitor. The challenge was to make every piece of content on the site work to further the Web strategy. The University rewrote content so it more directly served its goals:

  • enroll more, higher quality, academically engaged students;
  • engage lapsed alumni and potential supporters to donate;
  • hire more qualified faculty candidates;
  • create meaningful relationships with potential employers of graduating students; and
  • create meaningful relationships with media.

All content needed to support interactions and conversions that would contribute to Loyola’s plan to become the leading Catholic comprehensive university in the nation. TBG worked with Loyola and their branding agency, 160over90, to rework content so the site had nothing that did not serve the University’s strategic goals. Every piece of content serves a particular audience, and the goals for that audience are front of mind when new content is developed.

Back-end Usability

Back-end Usability

Loyola needed a way for a wide variety of content editors—including students—to be able to quickly and easily update the website. It wasn’t enough to make it possible; it also had to be intuitive. Luckily, Sitecore’s administrative interface for content authorship and editing is already fairly intuitive. TBG worked with Loyola to tailor the content workflow. Even novice users with little to no training in Sitecore can author and manage content for the Loyola site—critical for a university with resource challenges.