Old Dominion University Distance Learning

A Long-Term Partnership Forges a True Digital Strategy


Partners since 2010, ODU Distance Learning and NewCity engaged in an enhanced digital strategy that has bolstered enrollment.

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ODU Distance Learning has been one of our closest client relationships since 2010. We’ve performed three iterative redesigns of their site, and managed 8 enrollment campaigns. Their latest redesign that launched June 2015 features a responsive design, a more mature brand, and integrates the expansive digital marketing elements into the website.

Oh, How The Times Have Changed

In 2010, universities and agencies like ours were still trying to understand the audience base for online education. Knowledge about other programs and online offerings came with a certain “stigma” about them that was going to be a challenge.

We needed to communicate to these audiences the ODU Distance Learning education was the SAME education you’d get on campus. We wanted the Distance Learning students to feel like ODU students.

The old ODU Distance Learning website redesign that launched in 2011 was starting to show its age. We breathed life into the design in several instances with iterative updates, but nothing could change the fact the site was not responsive. While there was a mobile version of the website (dl.odu.edu/m), its users often ended up in the desktop format anyway. This led to significant drops in click-through mobile traffic and would eventually lead to a drop in search rankings.


A Data-Driven Approach

Having access to our client’s website analytics for several years has allowed us to fine-tune decisions in design, content and navigational pathways. We used a combination of Google Analytics and CrazyEgg to do the heavy lifting to inform our user experience team of what may need to be adjusted. The end result was a website that improved the overall user experience by:

  • reducing complex graphics
  • decreasing the number of PDFs
  • and focusing heavily on degree programs.

One of the more subtle changes you’ll see from the old design to the new design is the shift from ODU Distance Learning to ODU Online. At first it may look like a very small change but this was a part of an overall brand refresh. The terminology “online” helped inform the direction we decided to take and ultimately helped bring Distance Learning closer to the Old Dominion University brand guidelines.

If you haven’t read our white paper Show Me The Degree!, take a second to download it. It gives a detailed look at our approach and why we believe real conversions start with academic content.