Sentara: Personalizing the User Experience

September 05, 2017 by Erin Thorne, Content Strategy Lead

Sentara College of Health Sciences in Chesapeake, Virginia has an excellent reputation in the area, particularly for its nursing program. However, they face competition from numerous colleges and technical programs throughout the region.

To address this, they sought to strengthen their reputation for other programs, increase enrollment and revenue, and streamline their digital infrastructure. As a primary tactic to address these goals, they partnered with Centretek to provide a comprehensive digital strategy, and design and build a new website.

Redesign Key Facts

www.sentara.edu

Launch date: August 4, 2017

Primary goals: Better respond to each of the College’s core audiences’ needs; improve digital infrastructure, including better ways to generate and capture prospective students

Discovery involved: Interviews of current students, faculty and staff; competitor analysis; content audit; analytics analysis

Award-winning experience: Sentara.edu won gold for mobile features: best user experience in the 2017 W3 Awards

Content management system: Built on Drupal 7

Explicit personalization: The site allows users to self-select their site experience through a drop-down menu.

Sentara College of Health Sciences website personalization

Based on the user’s selection, the site provides different navigation and content targeted to the user’s needs.

This customization puts the power of personalization in a user’s hands. And, as Ryan Grieb, vice president of digital operations, notes: “Explicit personalization is a good alternative for clients who are not able to invest in implicit personalization, which is typically more expensive.”

Focus on calls to action and capturing leads: As part of the site’s content strategy, each page prominently displays clear calls to action that are specific to the explicit personalization.

For example, a future student is invited to Apply Now, Plan a Visit or Request Info. And, because many of the College’s programs offer online learning, prospective students are invited to find out if distance education is right for them by taking a sample online course. Each of these calls to action feeds the marketing automation platform Pardot, from which the College can generate a list of prospective students with whom to follow up.

Integrating marketing automation with Drupal CSS: The site uses numerous forms that feed into Pardot. For a seamless user experience, Centretek created custom style sheets on top of the forms to match the site’s style.

Showcasing the College through video: Centretek recommended the production of a series of short videos to showcase for perspective students the College of Health Science experience. The videos allow students to meet program directors in the College and learn key facts about their programs.

Consumer engagement: The site contains numerous sharable quick facts that animate as you move through the site.

Sentara College of Health Sciences quick facts

It also features “off-canvas content” that slides out from the viewing pane to provide further visual engagement. “We know from studies that people are driven toward interactive elements and information presented as numbers or graphics,” says Grieb. “These elements allow us to present key Sentara differentiators in very visual, engaging ways.”

About Sentara College of Health Sciences

Sentara College of Health Sciences offers online and on-campus learning options, while introducing students to the latest technologies in healthcare. The College’s connection to Sentara Healthcare, a not-for-profit healthcare organization serving Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, allows its students to learn from clinicians in world-class healthcare centers.

The College offers nursing degree programs, including RN to BSN; associate degrees, including in electrophysiology, echocardiography and surgical technology; and certificate courses in monitor surveillance and becoming a nursing care partner.

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