Ohio Christian University currently has a Drupal 6 website, which will be migrated (not upgraded) to Drupal 7 as part of a redesign process. The site will require a revised information architecture, new design, Drupal theming, new feature development, and performance optimization based on the results of this process.
All wireframes, designs, templates, and other deliverables created as part of the project will become the sole property of Ohio Christian University.
In general, we want our website to be a first line of communication with external audiences, especially prospective students, alumni, and donors. The goal is to enable visitors to quickly find the tools, resources, and information they need to reach a decision to enroll or support the university, no matter their starting point. Specifically, the site should help us achieve the following high-level organizational goals:
- Increasing Enrollment
- Improving the quality and volume of social media interactions
- Building relationships with Alumni and Donors
- Providing a centralized outlet for news and events
Visitors to our site may not be highly technical, so we want to make sure we’re not overwhelming people with technical “bells and whistles.” We are targeting the following types of visitors to our website:
- Prospective Students
- Traditional Undergraduate
- Adult & Graduate
- Post-Secondary (High School) Students
- Existing and Potential Donors
- Local Community
- Media & Press
- Anyone looking to learn more about OCU
About Ohio Christian University
Ohio Christian University (OCU) was founded in 1948 as Circleville Bible College for the purpose of educating clergy for the Churches of Christ in Christian Union. While remaining true to its founders' vision, Ohio Christian University has expanded its outreach by becoming accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and the Association for Biblical Higher Education and adding associate, bachelor, and master's degree programs in disciplines such as agribusiness, business administration, disaster management, psychology, and substance abuse counseling.
The university currently offers traditional (residential undergraduate) programs, onsite and online degrees designed for adult learners, and post-secondary options for high school students. By implementing online and hybrid (classroom and online) delivery methods for education, OCU has adapted to the changing landscape of technology. However, there has not historically been a matched effort to optimize web applications and services that exist outside the learning environment. This project will produce an updated website to serve the university’s external communication and marketing needs.
We are using Google Analytics to track site analytics. On a monthly basis, we average about 110,000 visits, with 30,000 unique visitors to www.ohiochristian.edu. SEO is performed in-house.
Structure and Content
Existing content will be reused as much as possible. An in-house team will review and revise for both SEO and marketing purposes. We expect to automate migration of content to the new Drupal site.
A primary concern is information architecture and navigation. The site structure has historically been driven by internal processes and structures (e.g. areas of responsibility). We believe a user-centric architecture and navigational structure would better support organizational goals. Editorial permissions and workflows will need to be established for departmental users to maintain content based on taxonomy.
Design & Theming
The redesign will include a new look and feel which reinforces the university brand while appealing to a broad demographic. We need to consistently present a broad array of information, customized for various degree programs and delivery methods. To be effective, the OCU website redesign must feature intuitive navigation, clear conversion paths, and an improved graphical user interface. A responsive, mobile-first, progressively-enhanced design pattern will be used to ensure the site can be viewed on a wide array of devices, including those yet to be created.
High Level Functionality
The following is not a comprehensive list but represents current and proposed functionality expected of the project.
- Support for downloadable attachments and embeddable media, including images, audio, YouTube video
- Social media integration, e.g., Facebook login, image galleries derived from social streams, one-click sharing
- Podcasts, podcast archives, with iTunes-compatible RSS feeds
- AJAX-enabled slideshows and web forms
- Context-enabled themes, layouts, and views
- Aggregation and publishing of news and event feeds, with filterable views
- Restricted access for creation and management of content (using Workbench modules).
- Geolocation services and zip-code based location search
- Online enrollment application form with heavy use of conditional and nested-conditional fields and entity references (e.g., degree programs, locations, recruiters). Submissions to be stored and pushed to Student Information System (third-party API).
- Feed course schedules from SIS with entity references to course content type.
- Administrative roles: Admin, Content Editor, Authenticated Users, others as needed.
- Content types: Basic Page, Article, Degree Program, Course, Event, Media, others as determined in requirements gathering.
- Views: News, Events, Degree Programs, Course Schedules, Related Content, others as determined in requirements gathering.
Site is currently maintained by a single developer and production code is modified directly after testing in a development environment. We would like consulting/training to establish version control and development-staging-production workflows.
The site is currently hosted on an 8GB Rackspace Cloud Server. Overall performance and availability are acceptable, but we need help to make the best use of server resources.
We would like to begin this project as soon as possible and have a target completion date of 60 days after the project starts. This target represents a complete launch date, preceded by a 2-week beta period. Complete documentation and training materials for non-technical users and administrators will be provided no later than 15 days after site launch.
To be determined.
The new site will be built using Drupal 7 and stable contributed modules where available. We are not currently considering other CMS or proprietary frameworks.
The objectives of this project are focused on the primary domain, www.ohiochristian.edu, which is intended for enrollment, fundraising, and external communications that build awareness, community impact, and brand recognition for the university. Integration with other systems will include LDAP authentication, posting application data to the student information system, in- and out- bound feeds with intranet (also Drupal 7), and some shared configuration with the intranet.
We have one in-house designer/developer assigned to the project; however, other responsibilities preclude full-time availability to the project.
Vendor Selection Criteria
We would like to have all proposals by no later than February 6, 2013 so we can make a decision to go with a specific vendor by February 20, 2013.
When selecting a vendor for this project, criteria for evaluation will include:
- Experience migrating content between Drupal versions
- Experience and willingness to train in development-staging-production workflow and best practices in a small team environment
- Proven ability to develop or extend Drupal modules
- Proficient with server configuration and performance optimization in a LAMP environment (CentOS)
- Holistic approach to an organization’s web presence (e.g., insight into integrating social media platforms, campaign tracking mechanisms, etc.)
- Initial cost and fee schedule for future development or enhancement projects
- Willingness to share work with the Drupal community
Please direct all responses to this RFP and/or any questions to:
Senior Designer & Webmaster
Ohio Christian University