Westchester Community College

Digital   |   Education

Designing bright futures for college students, professors and SUNY administration

A DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT THAT CLOSED THE DESIGN GAP BETWEEN OFFLINE AND ONLINE BRANDING

Westchester Community College, a lynchpin in lower New York State’s SUNY system, desired a modern update to the user interface and experience for their website without drastically altering its underlying administration system. In addition, the entire site needed to follow much more stringent accessibility guidelines in compliance with the ADA best practices, accounting for things like voice commands, visual impairment, and keyboard-controlled navigation.

ASHWORTH PLAN FOR A WEBSITE THAT FIT INTO A SUNY COLLGE BUDGET

To make a beautiful, user-friendly experience to sunywcc.edu without requiring changes to the workflows needed for its daily maintenance, Ashworth Creative audited sunywcc.edu data structures and strategized how designs could be implemented on top of, rather than in replacement of, its 1,000+ page CMS system. Designs were drafted to merge a modern digital aesthetic with Westchester Community College’s brand and presented to college-wide stakeholders. User surveys were conducted, targeting students and faculty for experience feedback on both the old and new site designs, and the aggregate results were carried into the strategy. Upon design approval, Ashworth developed styling and functionality and deployed in conjunction with SUNY Westchester’s IT team.

With the guidance of a large body of accessibility improvements provided through an agency audit, Ashworth then worked to implement more inclusive accessibility standards in the site’s metadata, presentation and device functionality. This work was executed in partnership with the help of SUNY Westchester’s publications office to accomplish hundreds of man hours in a short amount of time.

THE TAKEAWAY

Sunywcc.edu is now a beautiful, fully responsive, accessibility-rated site that has increased session duration for visits since launch. The accessibility compliance work has additionally elevated sunywcc.edu to be a standard-bearer for inclusive digital practices within the SUNY network.