Business Objective

Create a modern website for Columbia University’s newest campus that would alert target audiences with relevant information about enhanced degree programs, state of the art laboratories, and free wellness and education resources for people of all ages. The website also needed to demonstrate how the University was meeting community benefits agreements (CBAs) signed with the city of New York. And finally, it had to be built to support our content strategy and its back-end had to be manageable by a low-tech savvy editorial team.

Challenges

  • Engineering team works in agile while client and stakeholders work in waterfall
  • Multiple business objectives that weren’t quite cohesive
  • Coordinating an external design agency with our internal cross-functional team

Process

  • Worked with project manager to create the user story in Jira
  • Provided product requirements for both front and back end features
  • Settled on a Drupal-based content management system
  • Developed information architecture and an SEO strategy
  • Worked with external design agency to adapt mock-ups to the CMS
  • Conducted functional testing of the CMS software; reported bugs and adjusted features
  • Collaborated with PR, marketing team to get the word out and place strategic backlinks
  • Produced web traffic data analytics reports to indicate whether we were reaching intended audiences

Once the product launched, I also maintained the website’s blog and events pages to build its authority and reinforce our SEO strategy.

Key Results

The Manhattan Community Board 9’s link from a secondary menu.
  • Manhattan Community Board 9 published a link to Manhattanville on their homepage; it created a steady and substantial flow from one of our target audiences, neighboring communities.
  • Pages, content and SEO on the campus’ architecture generated online media attention; the Obama Foundation set up offices in one of the new buildings with access to the local community.
  • A mainly non-tech team quickly learned and were able to use the CMS.
  • Received backlinks from a handful of websites ranking business schools that provided a steady flow of prospective students to the content related to the future Columbia Business School buildings on Manhattanville.
  • Publishing construction updates and announcements in English and Spanish met requirements of CBAs.
Screenshot of the Manhattanville website digital product with an accompanying Drupal content management system