Need to Know
- Albany Law’s legacy website ran on an outdated Sharepoint environment, with a design that did not meet their primary audience’s needs.
- Albany Law needed a new digital experience that supports students through the three phases of their decision-making process and presents a unified user experience across their subsites, allowing their centers to convert prospective students into applicants and registerees.
- With the implementation of Drupal 8 and Acquia Site Studio, Albany Law’s Centers integrated a subsite functionality, each with its unique theme and navigation structure.
- Upgrading to Drupal 9 was smooth and efficient, requiring only a few modules to be updated.
- Northern created a unified and intuitive digital experience that serves Albany Law School’s goals.
- Winner of the 2021 Acquia Engage Leader of the Pack in Education Award.
Albany Law School is an American Bar Association accredited law school in New York’s capital. Albany Law prides itself on experiential learning inside and outside the classroom by offering a wide variety of courses, seats in law clinics, seminars, and co-curricular offerings.
Albany Law partnered with Northern to develop a digital experience representing all of Albany’s law centers while remaining true to its brand and providing an intuitive user experience for prospective students.
Albany Law's legacy website used an outdated Sharepoint CMS with a design that didn't meet its primary audience's needs. Outdated functionality combined with multiple integrations posed difficulties for internal staff to manage content and lacked flexibility. Overall, Albany Law wanted to ensure that the site content reflected its brand, highlighted its key differentiators, and was easy to follow for prospective students.
To convert prospective students into applicants and registerees, Albany Law needed a new digital experience to support students through the three phases of their decision-making process: exploration, validation, and execution. The new platform had to promote its brand with new cohesive positioning throughout and present a unified user experience across its subsites for its centers.
Before Albany Law's website redevelopment, Northern conducted multiple discovery sessions with internal stakeholders. Northern discovered that the Albany Law website no longer met its target audience's needs, which prevented effective facilitation of prospective students' successful exploration, validation, and action journey. Despite the challenges and process disruptions associated with the onset of the global pandemic, Northern adapted with an entirely remote discovery phase using digital technologies for user research, whiteboarding, and focus groups.
Primary audience alignment
Northern refined the content targeting the student market and supporting secondary audiences in alignment with a newly defined primary audience. Northern partnered with Albany Law to build its key pages and content architecture to create an intuitive user experience that showed the college at its best. Northern used subsite functionality to integrate each with a unique theme and navigation structure. The new information architecture aligns with several of the college’s overall goals.
Seven sites integrated into one with a custom search
To complement the new site architecture and help users find the information they need, Northern implemented a SOLR faceted site search via Azure, breaking results into categories, one for the program and course search block and a second for the enhanced staff directory. The course directory pulls course content into the website, automatically adding updates. Course information can be populated throughout the site, and content managers only need to change course information in one location. Single-sign-on access via Azure allows students and staff to remain logged in across all Albany Law properties, creating a smoother user experience.
Brand Management with Acquia Site Studio
With the implementation of Site Studio, all Albany Law centres use the most updated branding and allow Albany Law’s positioning and key differentiators to shine. Site Studio makes the site code and styles available through a drag-and-drop interface, which helps Albany Law’s internal team to make changes without external development assistance. Content editors can see what they’re building and build more quickly without coding using the visual page builder. By utilizing Groups for internal user roles and permissions, each department has access to make changes exclusively to their own group’s content.