As one of the three schools at Stanford University offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees, the Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences spans a wide range of disciplines. The school encompasses four departments; geological sciences, geophysics, earth system science, and energy resources engineering.
Stanford Earth wanted to increase student interest and engagement, especially among undergraduates, while also raising the visibility of Stanford Earth and the role it plays in solving key sustainability challenges around energy resources, food and water security, natural hazard risk reduction, and climate change. Additionally, the school wished to improve dissemination of faculty thought leadership and create a more engaging user experience for visitors to its website.
The Stanford Earth team faced challenges common to many institutions of higher learning. The School wanted to use its website to help engage 80 percent of undergraduates by 2020, but doing so with its current site would prove daunting. On-premises hosting meant that slow server performance was an issue. Additionally, the team had to rely on limited in-house resources for any updates, changes or improvements, which meant putting requests into a queue that was often filled with other requests.
Stanford Earth partnered with Stanford University Web Services (SWS) to help define the project and worked with Exygy to help design it. Together, the teams embarked on a student-focused design that quickly provided a wealth of information on a single page, and that included vastly superior new video and photography elements.
Qualitatively, the new site benefits from greatly improved storytelling through photos, video, and integrated social media about what the school’s faculty and students study and do. Quantitatively, the metrics are impressive. Traffic to the undergraduate experience page is up by 170 percent, and traffic to the graduate page is up by 420 percent. Additionally, time on page for the undergraduate experience page has more than doubled, a sign that visitors are more interested in what the new page has to offer.