Educating the educators on smart digital governance
Providing MBAs and both open and closed training programmes to the business world, Hult Ashridge Business School operates in the highly competitive executive education environment.
Certainly, the School was a success. The School’s stunning 200 year-old Ashridge House spoke of a rich legacy. At the same time, its future success was being severely compromised by its website, which had evolved in a fractured and fragmented manner.
Reducing the cost – both actual and hidden
Slowly but surely the Hult Ashridge Business School website had steadily ballooned to around 60 websites, serving up a huge volume of content on an unwieldy mass of web pages. Built on too many different systems, the website was a mess of different platforms and pages. Some WordPress, many unsupported, all relying on one person to manage all the moving parts. It was difficult to navigate, frustrating for users, and an unhappy experience for everyone. In responding to the ever-changing business world, the site had lost its way.
It also cost far too much. Not only in the need to push water up hill on maintaining the site (at a huge commercial cost), but also on the fractured and weak presentation of what the School could do for business (at a huge cost to brand reputation).
Transforming the experience
So how do you set about rationalising a sprawling website that had escaped its original purpose? In this case, with impartial and independent expertise, and by casting an objective and dispassionate eye on where the website was now, where it needed to be, and how it was going to get there.
And so we began the process of transforming the Hult Ashridge Business School website. Our goal was simple: to share our expertise in how websites work both under the bonnet and in the face of the public to transform the website experience for a digital savvy audience.
Revealing a complex picture
We started by talking to stakeholders. We listened to users. We researched the business education market. We challenged the brief, which in its early stages suggested copying and pasting content from the old to the new website. We asked why, why, why?
The deeper we went, so the size and complexity increased. The truth slowly dawned on us that we had underestimated the obstacles and, in reality, didn’t know how disorganised things were until we really got into it. We discovered duplicate pages featuring contradictory content, microsites not on the latest platform version, off-brand content unfit for purpose. Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and accessibility issues. Our task was further complicated by the fact that Hult Ashridge Business School was already in the middle of a full rebrand.