Designed to Perform

Christian Brothers University is a Lasallian university in Memphis with a nationally renowned engineering program topping a long list of remarkable attributes. We partnered with them to build a new site from the ground up to give them the performance, design and usability they needed to introduce the world to the real CBU.
Website Redesign
Information Architecture
Experience Design
Site Development
CMS Implementation
Art Direction

New Look, New Voice

As one of only a handful of Lasallian universities in the country, CBU has some uniquely inherent brand tenants. As one of only a handful of universities in Memphis, CBU also has a strong local connection with a community largely unaware of the Lassaliian tradition.

Our extensive student and stakeholder research led us to develop a new design system and brand voice to better express the totality of CBU’s brand. A clean, modern visual style creates a punchy, yet unobtrusive framework for multimedia assets to convey CBU’s personality. An honest and direct brand voice with a casual tone enables the University to connect with—as opposed to talk at—prospective students. The overall impression offers an authentic portrait of CBU that continued user research indicates has bolstered trustworthiness and brand comprehension.

Christian Brothers University screenshot of the Academics heading
Phones display how Christian Brothers University uses responsive design

Academic to the Core

IA, content strategy and design coalesce to elevate the presence and status of CBU’s academics. Programs have been decoupled from the schools and departments that run them and sorted by a taxonomy aligned with user expectations—not internal organization. Programs share a standardized template that is also highly flexible, allowing for unique customization while retaining recognizable user patterns. Each program is a custom post type, allowing it to be referenced easily in a variety of ways and places throughout the rest of the site.

CBU Program Finder
CBU Academic Page for Chemistry

Success, CBU-Style

Our research and discovery revealed a sizable gap between CBU’s value, both actual and perceived, and the school’s ability to promote its value. We took the opportunity to lift up student success stories across multiple areas of the site, putting emphasis on the mechanisms CBU has in place—both academic and extracurricular—for enabling success.

We also expanded the definition of success. While employment outcomes are key to highlighting CBU’s value, community connection, service, and improvement are all important facets of success for a student body overwhelmingly driven to do good for others.

Christian Brothers University Sussess Story features
Christian Brothers University's MyCBU Landing Page

Siloes Aren't All Bad

CBU’s site didn’t have an intranet. An overwhelming amount of content for internal audiences was bogging down the site, bloating the IA and creating frustrating user flows for prospective audiences. We created an authenticated experience for current students, faculty and staff, and other internal audiences to keep the public site as streamlined and prospective-focused as possible.

Built for Speed

Site performance was a major objective at the onset of this project. We built the new site on a modern CMS which we kept clean and free of excessive plugins and chose a fast host server with quick performance. We’ve employed best practices for modern web development, from concatenated and minified JavaScript and CSS to responsive images optimized to reduce bandwidth. And we’re using performance-boosting services, such as Cloudinary and Varnish Cache, to further optimize images and speed up content delivery across the site.

11x Faster
than the previous site
more efficient IA as a custom intranet removed unnecessary information from the site

Designed for Accessibility

Many universities struggle to make their websites fully accessible to people with disabilities. We used different accessibility tools, and continual manual and automated testing throughout development, to achieve compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) AA standards. To maintain this standard, Christian Brothers University has an Accessibility Policy page containing their commitment to publishing inclusive webpages and instructions for contact if an area needs work.

Color Contrast Accessibility numbers