When McMaster University announced an online term for Fall 2020, our website redevelopment went from being a “nice to have” to one of our most important and urgent projects of the year.

Developing a new website while simultaneously maintaining the current website in the middle of a pandemic is like renovating your home while living in it — and working in it — during quarantine. Unexpected needs from leadership, staff and students resulted in adjustments to goals, timelines, and project deliverables.

The website redevelopment project was a complex, unpredictable, but deeply satisfying project worth every bit of TLC put into it. Even launching at 70% complete, we delivered a build-your-own-home-page experience and 100+ student stories and publications accessible through traditional and holistic navigation options. Then, in Fall 2020, we integrated a new “virtual front desk” live chat operated by staff and students resulting in an 86% increase in page views within the first six months of launching.

How did we do it? Attend this session, and we’ll share it all, including our most valuable research, our strategies towards engaging staff and students in the build, and a template of our full process from research to launch (should you ever wish to do it yourself!).