WHERE WILL YOUR PASSION TAKE YOU?
Students across Kentucky have the opportunity to follow their passion into a rewarding career with an education at Sullivan. With campuses and learning centers in Louisville, Lexington, Fort Knox, Louisa, and Mayfield, as well as online learning, access to a positive classroom setting is widely available and celebrates diversity. Variety is key not just in the communities they serve but also their degree programs. With eight colleges and schools, and numerous degree programs within each of them, students can pursue specialized degrees and certifications to position themselves for success.
In their passion and ambition to continually care well for current, prospective, and future students, Sullivan teamed up with Hatfield Media to design and develop a new website. In an increasingly digital age, powerful, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing websites are imperative to optimum student service. Eric Short, Director of Marketing and Enrollment Management Analytics at Sullivan University describes their motivation as a “desire for a new and refreshed look, better load time, and increased engagement with prospective students.” With these key goals set, we began earnest work on a new website.
IGNITING A BRAND AESTHETIC
To begin this project, Hatfield’s Director of Graphic Design, Shayne Hiles, worked closely with Short to develop an aesthetic for the new website. Their vision was to capture the time-honored brand and logo of Sullivan University and develop a fresh concept for the individual schools. “We broke the schools into their own colors and icons, which offers recognition amongst the students, potential students, and faculty for the programs they’re involved in, as well as giving a lot of options for marketing campaigns that are unique to each school” notes Hiles. In addition to designing a new mini-brand for each Sullivan school, the iconic “Sullivan Green,” the key brand color for the university as a whole, was expanded to a palette including purple and yellow.
The fresh brand color palette opened up more creative opportunities with the website design. Sullivan University’s multiple schools, degree programs within those schools, locations, and other student services called for a highly organized website. “With universities, and Sullivan in particular, we knew that we needed to create a clear way to provide information in a directory structure,” recalls Jonathan Kuo, Senior Web Developer. As part of the collective effort to build that structure, Hiles’s individual school branding supported a structure that is both organized and vibrant. The end result is a website that offers “menu functionality, a ‘look’ that everyone likes, is seamless, and steps up the game,” says Hiles.
BREAKING THE MOLD
Just as this project was to allow Sullivan University to optimize their digital reach and student services, it was also an opportunity for Hatfield Media to serve them to the best of our abilities. A website of this magnitude required a large collective effort from both us and the client, and it was truly done with joy. “Everyone had an eagerness to do the site really well,” says Christina Pfeifer, Project Manager at Hatfield Media. “The teamwork was great, and we met regularly to brainstorm and discuss new ideas. Everyone had a great attitude throughout.”
In addition to the key target objectives of faster load times and structured site organization, the web development team seized this opportunity to exceed expectations and make a site with powerful capabilities. Ray Tri, Lead Back End Developer, recalls, “One of the more exciting things was how we were able to diagnose opportunities for growth.” Spearheading the use of our new custom website platform, the website was able to outperform all previous standards and “give Sullivan an enterprise-class website with more features,” adds Tri.
Implementing Twill was ultimately a collaborative effort of breaking the mold on custom web development. Building a completely custom site from the ground up removed all issues faced by the previous site. From security to speed to plugin dependencies, our new platform produces enterprise-level sites which can scale over time. Hatfield’s entire team expresses excitement about building a new platform, its robust capabilities, and the endeavor of using it to create an exceptional website for Sullivan University. “Having the opportunity to take certain risks allowed us to be as innovative as possible, and I am definitely excited to see not just how it’s meeting Sullivan’s needs but also the process of launching this project altogether,” says Kuo.
“Working with Eric has been a really great experience because he understands the process and advocates well for what Sullivan needs,” says Pfeifer. She continues, “A project of this magnitude involved a lot of collaboration between departments, both at the University and within Hatfield's team. The final product was a great site that loads quickly, provides all the information prospective students need, and offers a pleasant, intuitive navigation experience.”
In reference to the new website, Short notes that it “definitely loads more quickly,” and his colleagues particularly appreciate “the vibrant colors and icons.” Of his experience working with us on this, he emphasizes, “The team is very responsive and is always looking for innovative ways to improve our engagement with prospective students.”
The challenge of pushing for fresh, creative work with Sullivan University has been a pleasure for the entire team at Hatfield. The intrinsic motivation behind this project shines through, and the thrust for continual improvement is just beginning. “We have additional features that we’ll be rolling out to keep the good news coming,” hints Tri. Doing our utmost to help our clients grow is always our top priority, and we are very enthusiastic to continue that with Sullivan University.