Front Range Community College

Front Range Community College (FRCC) is a two-year institution of higher learning with four campuses in Colorado: Westminster, Longmont, Fort Collins and Brighton. It is the largest community college in Colorado and the number-one transfer institution for the University of Colorado-Boulder, Colorado State University, and Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Sitefinity was utilized in the development of this site.

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Hodgson first became involved with Front Range Community College (FRCC) (www.frontrange.edu) when they were selecting a new content management system (CMS) for their site. At that time, we arranged demonstrations of Sitefinity for FRCC stakeholders, and we set up sandbox environments to allow FRCC’s development team to evaluate the features of the CMS through a fully hosted trial installation.

After FRCC’s web team had settled on Sitefinity as their new CMS of choice, they engaged Hodgson to design and build an innovative site that would offer their users an intuitive, personalized experience. We began the project by working with FRCC’s internal team to define the functional and business goals for the new site. With the requirements in hand, Hodgson’s designers were able to craft an entirely new look and feel for the FRCC website.

The Solution

The updated design features prominent, red call-to-action buttons characterized by the “torn” effect prominent in FRCC’s print marketing materials. The dropdown menus in the main navigation are designed to draw the user further into the site and to encourage exploration (the featured images liven up these menus as well). Furthermore, the grid layout of the homepage and landing pages (e.g., www.frontrange.edu/getting-in) gives the site a very clean, balanced feel. It also allows users to easily find the content they seek, as it is presented in clear, discrete blocks throughout the site.

As part of the creative process, Hodgson’s project team conducted usability testing on designs to ensure that the finished product would conform to usability best practices. One key element of usability is the “breaking from tradition” approach to the main navigation. Often, higher education sites use a standard menu that includes “Academics,” “Admissions,” and “Student Life.” Instead of staying with established conventions, the FRCC team had based the new navigation primarily on the timing of the prospective student’s engagement with the College. During usability testing, we found that the new menu concepts created by FRCC were very clear and intuitive, and that an eye-appealing dropdown menu would draw a visitor deeper into the site.

Another important feature of the site is its capacity to provide a personalized experience to students, parents, and faculty based on which of the four campuses a visitor was associated with. By making a campus selection, a user has a personalized experience on nearly 40% of the site’s pages. 

Incorporating the blog into the website was also a priority for FRCC, as they had an extensive collection of blog posts, contributed by both students and faculty. As WordPress blog posts are imported into the site, tags and categories are assigned to each post. Throughout the website, the blog widget is filtered to display posts specific to the content on the page, providing a greater amount of relevant information for the site visitor.

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