School website redevelopment coming spring 2021

Incoming and continuing students can expect an El Camino College website redevelopment for the spring 2021 semester.

The marketing team behind the redevelopment consists of several school officials, along with Stamats for website development and OmniUpdate on webpage management, as external partners in the project.

The marketing team hired Stamats for their experience in higher education of two-year and four-year institutions and OmniUpdate as their current content management system (CMS) for the website, including development.

Different template designs are migrated from Stamats to OmniUpdate, where “they basically build the new website,” Ann O’Brien, executive director of Marketing and Communications, said.

O’Brien added that the time felt right to examine the way students access information on the website.

“You really need to ensure that the information is still easy to access,” O’Brien said. “It’s important to stay on top of website redevelopments and keep them fresh.”

The project began in December 2019 under a Request for Proposal from the marketing team. During that time, the marketing team was looking for different organizations to help work on the redevelopment.

Stamats, with OmniUpdate as their existing CMS, have been selected and approved by the Board of Trustees to be involved in the project.

Julieta Aramburo, director of Outreach and Public Relations, said that the website redevelopment is set to launch in late spring of 2021.

“It’s been a really really good experience to just take a step back and reexamine what is the experience that we want students to have when they visit the website,” Aramburo said.

After the pandemic began, the marketing team, including Aramburo, worried about what would become of the project. Still, they were able to push forward despite the current conditions.

O’Brien said the website redevelopment budget is projected at $229,000 and may change based on the needs of the project. As the marketing team examines the cosmetics of the website, they are focusing on “the structure of the functionality” of it.

“[If] you do the project right the first time, the longevity of the website will be there for a number of years to benefit future students, faculty and staff,” O’Brien said.

The marketing team has gathered input from focus groups consisting of students, faculty and staff who gave feedback on issues with the current state of the website, so that it may be further polished.

Evelyn Somoza, Marketing and Operations supervisor, is part of the project and said that the focus group had trouble with their search results not loading the top results they originally searched for.

“[Based] on that feedback, we’re looking into how we can optimize our current search engine that we use on our site which is a Google search or potentially going to the search that’s native to our CMS,” Somoza said.

There will also be a filtering system in the redeveloped website which will help guide students in quickly finding the right degrees and certificates, even transfer programs, that help meet their needs when enrolling at El Camino.

“That’s our main mission,” O’Brien said. “We’re here for the students to help serve them in a way that will make them successful and [fulfill] any dream that they have.”