A Strategic Approach to a Drupal Upgrade
Re-focusing on Audience and Mission
Faced with an upgrade to Drupal 8, the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine decided to revisit the purpose and focus of their website. TEN7 guided them through the steps to take a more strategic approach going forward.
As is often the case, the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) watched its website grow dramatically over the years. Different departments and divisions within the College made numerous additions to the site, often requesting new pages and features. What started out strategically started to get off track and a little out of control.
When the University announced an upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, the CVM digital marketing team saw an opportunity. They engaged with TEN7 to conduct a review of their current site and develop a strategic platform for the upgrade, re-focusing on the key features and audiences that support the College’s mission.
As a preferred vendor for the University of Minnesota, TEN7 was able to get up and running quickly, meeting with the CVM team to understand their situation and needs. We decided the best first step was to conduct a full audit of the existing website.
This would allow the College’s leadership team to get a high-level overview of what was working and what could be improved. From there, we would work with the CVM team to put together a roadmap for the future, including the upgrade to Drupal 8.
Conduct a thorough review of the existing content
Using our established website audit process, we took a deep dive into the CVM website, including extensive analysis of the content, the analytics, and the site map. Our review helped the team get a feel for the breadth of the current site and where there might be opportunities to improve the focus and functionality.
Often when websites have been around a while they start to expand and stray from their original intent. New pages are added and features are often duplicated. Our audit provided a baseline of understanding for CVM leadership to see which parts of the site seemed to meet the needs of their audiences, which areas were not seeing engagement, and in some cases which elements might be driving people away.
The foundation of this review provided a positive starting point, getting people on the same page going forward.
Develop a strategic framework to guide an upgrade
Building from the results of the review, we worked with the CVM team to develop a guiding document for the College’s Drupal 8 upgrade. This strategic plan is being used as a touch point for all decisions around the next iteration of the website, helping the teams stay focused on who their audiences are and what the website needs to accomplish.
Our work helped refine the voice and goals of the website, putting the mission of the College back in front as the North Star for the content and features. Having an outside voice at the table helped the CVM digital team align multiple audiences around this vision, making sure they were comfortable with the direction and confident in the Drupal 8 upgrade process.
It also prompted valuable discussion about the nature of the website, what should be offered externally, and why some things should be offered on an intranet site instead to avoid clutter and confusion.
Given the size of the CVM site, the marketing team said the strategic plan was vital in helping remind people what they want on the new website, and what they don’t want to transfer over for the launch.
from the client
They were extremely responsive. They were lovely to work with and communicate with and very flexible and understanding. Which were all huge benefits as we navigated through all the various roadblocks that we came across.