How Trew Knowledge turned more than 125 years of history into a modern website for Havergal College
Making history since 1894, Havergal College is a staple of Canadian education and development for today’s young women, delivering a robust and rigorous academic curriculum that develops leadership, creativity and enthusiasm for each of the young women who dedicate part of their school life among its corridors and classrooms. Along with the rich history of tradition at Havergal College, the school has contributed to the careers and lives of many influential women across the world, and it is with these traditions and influence in mind that the website undertook its own transformation to attract tomorrow’s next generation of impactful women.
With an educational proposal extremely focused on providing paths to a promising and challenging future for its students, while maintaining a fun, engaging and unique enrollment experience across the institution, Havergal College turned to Trew Knowledge so that, together, we could translate its mission, strategic direction and each of its values into a website that would showcase the complete Havergal College experience, be more accessible, bring digital wisdom to the forefront of its message, and demonstrate its commitment to innovation.
As the institution underwent a drastic renovation to modernize itself and enhance the learning experience, the current website needed to follow suit in modernizing the web experience across devices.
“Our primary goals were really to overhaul our old site. We wanted a more contemporary, refreshed look. We wanted that user experience to be paramount, we wanted to ensure that at all stages of the web experience, and we absolutely met the goal.”Antonietta Mirabelli, Executive Director, Communications and Marketing at Havergal College
As part of the solution, Trew Knowledge developed a series of strategic exercises with leadership stakeholders to uncover the following transformational goals:
As discovered through consultation, a primary goal that emerged was also to deliver to prospective students, existing students, respective parents, guardians and community members, an opportunity to share in the decision making process of selecting the best educational programs for future growth.
By creating a solution that presented a wealth of easy to find information, including interactive components, alongside a transparent view into life at Havergal College, the new site now allows for an improved collaborative experience for selecting the best fit for today’s modern young woman. Further, by focusing on industry standards for accessibility compliance, the new solution is now more accessible than ever before.
The Havergal experience
Ready to move forward with its educational proposal and goal of presenting an interactive experience for its users, the website presented a complete and dynamic tour of each of the schools lifestyle features on campus bringing the luxury and modernity of its physical structure to the online environment. The solution showcased a virtual tour and interactive campus map for students, parents and prospective faculty, to experience all that the Havergal College campus has to offer. Making the website as interesting as walking through the hallways and classrooms of this historical landmark.
Browsing the site, the user has a broad view of more than 125 years of Havergal College history by learning about alumni, a historical timeline, statistics of past performance and presenting its alumni in their new roles for life after Havergal College. For parents, discovering and presenting the leadership team that drives the innovation of the school, and those responsible for creating the atmosphere of learning and development, was a clear objective to building confidence in the programs, in addition to a complete explanation of curricular and extracurricular activities, course requirements, processes, tuition fees and deadlines for enrollment.
Overall, the new web experience took a clean, luxurious and minimalist design approach, to not only meet accessibility standards, but also to make the site more user friendly, bold and flexible as it evolves in the future. Understanding the challenge that site managers experienced with maintaining a consistent design approach, the solution also took into consideration the importance of back end administration of the site to empower content creators to continue creating beautiful experiences. By leveraging a modular approach to Gutenberg blocks, and ensuring that backend CMS also represented the exact front end experience, the new solution allowed for admins to quickly, accurately, and uniquely, create content using the components that can be used across the site.
To do more and to do better
While developing a user friendly solution for users and administrators, part of the challenges that were overcome also included migrating the site to a more stable and secure hosting environment. As such, a stable environment solution for the application that followed best practices, provided the Havergal College ecosystem with a reliable infrastructure and managed WordPress hosted solution.
With stability, the team gained agility with a modern, custom WordPress Gutenberg theme that not only allow admins to create and build pages to meet campaign initiatives, but to create unique layouts, rich media content, and manage all aspects of the web application from navigation, dynamic custom blocks, standardized patterns, reusable blocks, forms and more, bringing freedom to the creative process and development of content.
“Our admissions team really appreciates how the recruitment process is really highlighted. It’s easy to apply. It’s easy to get information, grade-specific information. Internally, we have really helped them excel in the work that they need to do with this refreshed site. I feel like we have done a good job. We have made huge, huge changes.”
The architecture was entirely designed and developed to support future additions within the multisite network as needed, to empower the forward-thinking plans and goals for a digitized experience and expansion for eCommerce in the future.
A future-ready orientation
Helping Havergal College focus on managing its on and off-campus educational marketing activities, and leaving us to do what we do best, Trew Knowledge is also responsible for the maintenance and support of the new website, whether in problem solving or in the continuous improvement and evolution of its functions.