GIVE TO MESA

Academics v2.0

Improving the Student Experience

The Mesa College website redesign project was undertaken in late 2018/early 2019 as part of the Regional Strong Workforce “Improving the Student Enrollment Experience” initiative, as recommend by the California Community College Chancellors office. The long-term objective for this project was to increase student enrollment in Career Education and other academic programs by transitioning college websites to marketing tools that drive enrollment. Funds were provided to support colleges in making changes to their website structures, functionality, and content that would ultimately support prospective students in converting into enrolled students. Mesa has since leveraged additional funding to complete the project.

Key Features

  1. Updated design
  2. Standardized information/layout for each program
  3. Upgraded maintainability/data integrity through better digital infrastructure
  4. Automate. Automate. Automate.
  5. Associated career data with programs
  6. Improved SEO
  7. Added information request form

View Academic Programs

1. Updated design

We have updated the look and feel of our academic pages to better illustrate the quality of Mesa College and our available programs. The new, clean and minimal design-style helps convey increased information for each of our programs and ensures a more efficient and user-friendly experience.

Features include:

  • Hero images for each program
  • A clear hierarchy of information
  • Accessible and welcoming language
  • Clearly defined hyperlinks
  • A completely responsive design
  • Font size, padding, and margin scaled based on screen size
  • Tables swapped for card elements where possible
  • Highlighted calls to action

2. Standardized information/layout for each program

To improve useability, we standardized the layout and information provided for each program. The consistency of the interface will familiarize students with where information is located and allow for easier navigation through the different programs. 

For the layout as a whole, we have maintained standard conventions to take advantage of best practices and the procedural knowledge gained by using other websites. Based on feedback and web analytics usage data, we added additional information to increase utility for students, including estimated cost and support resources.

We have also worked hard to increase performance and accessibility.

Improvements include:

  • Lazy loading all images
  • Hardcoding critical CSS to the pages
  • Delaying loading of non-essential scripts
  • Limiting fonts loaded
  • Reducing dependency on frameworks
  • Following WCAG 2.0 Standards 

3. Upgraded maintainability/data integrity
through better digital infrastructure

Before updating the website, all information for courses and program requirements lived on its respective webpage, with no data system behind it. 

This posed the following obstacles:

  • All information had to be manually updated on EVERY page, leading to: 
    • inconsistent information across pages
    • greater potential for human error
    • increased workload
  • Information could not be repurposed and displayed elsewhere, making it difficult to: 
    • build in search/sort functionality 
    • group the programs/courses in different views (ie. being able to filter programs by degree type or only showing AA degrees).

To remedy these issues, we standardized the data into JSON documents and are migrating that information into Mongo DB with a set of internal REST APIs to reference the data. This will provide greater maintainability, data integrity, flexibility and functionality in the long term.

Improvements include:

  • A single source of truth for all data
  • The option to maintain and update all information programmatically
  • Repurposing data for increased functionality – search, sort, group
    • For example, using the internal API we can “ask” for all AA degrees
  • Greater automation

4. Automate. Automate. Automate.

We have added several automated features in an effort to provide more information to our users without increasing the bandwidth necessary to maintain the website. Greater automation will also require less web maintenance and upkeep from department and program faculty and staff members.

Newly automated features include:

  • Program Learning Outcomes
    • Data provided by the IE office
  • Estimated Cost
  • Degree & Certificate Requirements
    • Data provided by SDCCD/Catalog
    • Pulled from newly created academics database via internal APIs*
  • Courses
    • Data provided by SDCCD/Catalog
    • Pulled from newly created academics database via internal APIs*
  • Careers
    • Data provided by ONET and Career One Stop
    • Pulled from newly created careers database via internal APIs
  • Events & Announcements
    • Pulled from the campus calendar
  • Faculty & Staff
    • Pulled from the campus directory

*We are still transitioning all data into the new academics database

5. Associated career data with programs

Using data from ONET and Career One Stop, we have integrated associated career data into our academic program layout, encouraging students to engage in educational planning that includes consideration for future career attainment.

We used ONET’s quick search to pull the relevant careers associated with each program and will work with each program to fine-tune generated results in the following ways:

  • Adjusting the search terms used
  • Adding/Removing specific careers by ONET code
  • Improved SEO

6. Improved SEO

To improve our online visibility and make it easier for users to find our academic program pages, we have improved the Search Engine Optimization for each program. What is SEO?

This includes:

  • Keyword research for each program
  • Text content rewritten to be SEO friendly
  • Custom titles/descriptions implemented on all program pages to increase web traffic

7. Added information request form

Users now have the ability to request more information about a specific program by submitting our online request form. Program faculty and staff will be able to reach out to these students and send information to those who are interested in their programs. Additionally, when users input specific questions about our programs, they will help us identify potential gaps in information or points of confusion that need clarifying within our programs and online resources. 

Coming Soon!

Data Updates

We are currently updating all the program/course information for 2021-22. If you find information that is incorrect, please report an issue.

Timeline: Fall 2021

Federated Search

Users will be able to search programs, courses, and careers from a single search bar. This will be a full text fuzzy (does not have to be an exact match) search covering titles, descriptions, and keywords to give students the best possible results.

With our new architecture, users will be able to seamlessly move from program, career, or course as an entry point to any of the other categories.

  • Course > Program > Career
  • Career > Program > Course

Timeline: Fall/Winter 2021

Chair / Lead Faculty Listing

We would like to list the best faculty contact for each program under the Dean. We realize that this could be the chair or a lead faculty member or even both. We will need the guidance of each program on who they would like listed as the best contact.

Timeline: Fall/Winter 2021

We want your feedback!

Many of the improvements to our website have been made possible through community input. Please take our feedback survey to tell us about your suggestions for our academic program pages.

Submit Feedback

Website improvement is a dynamic process; we will continue to assess the quality of our user experience and make incremental changes as necessary. We use Google's Lighthouse to assess our web pages in key areas. These scores are page specific and will vary slightly from page to page but all academic program pages should score in a similar range.

Scores according to Google’s Lighthouse:

Accounting

Accounting Page Web Scores

Chemistry

Chemistry Page Web Scores

Mathematics

Mathematics Page Web Scores

Sustainability

Sustainability Page Web Scores

Web Development

Web Development Page Web Scores
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