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- Albany Law’s legacy website ran on an outdated Sharepoint environment, with a design that did not meet their primary audience’s needs.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 situated in New York’s capital. Offering a wide variety of courses, seats in law clinics, seminars, and co-curricular offerings, Albany Law prides itself on experiential learning inside and outside the classroom.
Albany Law partnered with Northern to develop a digital experience representing all of Albany’s law centers while remaining true to their brand and providing an intuitive user experience for prospective students.
Albany Law’s legacy website ran on an outdated Sharepoint environment, with a design that did not meet their primary audience’s needs. Outdated functionality pieced together with multiple integrations posed difficulties for internal staff to manage content and lacked flexibility.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 their brand, highlighted their 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 that would support students through the three phases of their decision-making process: exploration, validation, and execution. The new platform had to promote their brand with new cohesive positioning throughout and present a unified user experience across their subsites for their centers.
Before Albany Law’s website redevelopment, Northern conducted multiple discovery sessions with internal stakeholders to understand their experiences with the legacy website and identify their needs. Northern discovered that the legacy Albany Law website missed its target audience, which prevented effective facilitation of prospective students’ successful exploration, validation, and action journey. Albany Law partnered with Northern to ensure their audience’s needs and internal needs were aligned from discovery to launch. Despite the challenges and process disruptions associated with the onset of the global covid-19 pandemic, Northern quickly adapted with an entirely remote discovery phase using digital technologies for user research, whiteboarding, focus groups, and more.
Primary audience alignment
In alignment with a newly defined primary audience of prospective students and supporting a primary goal to get more students to apply to Albany Law, Northern recommended refining content targeted towards the prospective student market and supporting secondary audiences and objectives. Northern partnered with Albany Law to build their key pages and content architecture to create an intuitive user experience that showed Albany Law at its best. By developing new information architecture, the site aligns with several of the college’s overall goals. Albany Law’s Centers used subsite functionality to integrate their unique theme and navigation structure.
Seven sites integrated into one with 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. Custom search functions helped facilitate effective search across two unique content blocks, the program and courses versus the enhanced staff directory. The course directory pulls course content into the website, automatically including updates. Content managers can populate course content throughout the site by only changing course information in one location. Single-sign-on access via Azure allows students and staff to remain logged in across 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, allowing 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 code, using the visual page builder. By utilizing Groups for internal user roles and permissions, each department can make changes exclusively to their own group’s content.