Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021

Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

As you may recall, the university purchased a new Web Content Management System (CMS) earlier this year after considerable study and multiple town halls where we discussed how to best strengthen our overall web presence. During the last several months, the Division of University Brand Strategy and Communications (UBSC) has contracted with industry experts and vendors on web projects designed to make our university and academic programs more easily discoverable to our prospective students and to provide clearer pathways to our most important recruiting information. Learn about the ongoing progress at our new CMS update website.

This is critical work that President Smatresk, Provost Cowley, and our deans support to improve UNT's Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings to be more competitive in the DFW market and beyond — a crucial step if we are to continue growing our programs while helping students thrive at UNT. UBSC engaged many key stakeholders and department partners across campus to discuss how to best work together to achieve this important work.
Most recently, we created a scalable design system for our websites that will offer more tools for campus web editors, and we achieved a major project milestone when our Web Development Team handed off the web template files to the CMS vendor to build the foundation for our future websites. We are now planning the migration of the first wave of websites to launch by Summer 2022.

We also are working with six of our most highly trafficked and largest-digital-footprint college websites — Business, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Music, and Science — to improve their user experience based on recommended strategy from an outside consultant. We ultimately expect these changes to lead to better student retention for these colleges. This work is a pilot program, and the results will inform the information architecture for UNT's other college websites.

Additionally, we are overhauling UNT's academic program webpages to ensure UNT is providing prospective students with accurate, concise information in an appealing format. It is important to note that these pages are the most popular way for our prospective students to learn about our degree programs, amassing more than 1.4 million pageviews in 2020. This work includes centralizing all academic program information by transitioning the academic program pages to the new CMS and revamping the program information to improve the user experience. This move allows us to add new features such as:

  • Clear information about concentrations, minors, certificates, and track options
  • Availability of related degrees and programs
  • Programs categorized by subject areas for users to self-discover program areas of interest
  • “Apply,” “Tour,” and “Request More Info” buttons at the top of each page to drive action

In thinking through the university's overall web needs, UBSC has been working on several other high-priority, digital initiatives that will provide additional web resources to our community. UBSC is continuing to support web accessibility efforts via Siteimprove and have posted a position for a Digital Accessibility Specialist to help provide support and coordination to ensure web accessibility compliance. We also will soon launch our Spanish-language welcome site to better engage and inform prospective students and their families about what UNT offers. And we are guiding the implementation of a new university-wide online calendar, which will launch in Spring 2022 to combine all university events in one place to best promote what is happening to our many audiences.

All of this work combined is a huge transition for UNT, and ultimately it will greatly improve our overall web presence so we can better recruit, retain, and educate our students about our award-winning academic programs. I appreciate the support of this critical digital initiative from our many campus partners.

Jim Berscheidt
Vice President
University Brand Strategy and Communications