With origins stretching back to 1899, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is an institute of research and teaching on the topic of global health.
Chris Howard, LSHTM’s web and multimedia manager, shared how he and his team were able to achieve a digital transformation for this venerable institution’s web presence earlier this year at Acquia Engage Europe.
The School’s website—which had last been fully revamped in 2011—was facing a number of challenges. Content quality was a major concern.
“We need to tell a story to engage the users,” Howard said. “This is something that we were lacking.”
Logistical issues, such as having a number of different stakeholders and content providers was also a stumbling block identified by Jon Faulkner, U.K. managing director of Domain7, LSHTM’s digital partner.
“Website responsibility was split across multiple teams, (and there was) limited support or vision of where they were going next,” Faulkner said.
Pushing Transformation Forward while Getting Back to Basics
Domain7 and LSHTM worked together to define the project’s objectives. The main focus was on improving digital capabilities.
“We wanted to push forward the organization, the tools and the people,” Howard said.
Ensuring that the site was easier to support and maintain and that it could continually develop and evolve were also top priorities.
“We needed to go back to basics and strip the site right down. What is the site for and how do we want to use it?” Howard said. “We wanted a platform that we could continue to develop and improve and reflect our research, but also not be here again (having to completely redesign) in five years’ time. The site must be robust, resilient and stable, and easy to publish in a decentralized environment.”
200% Increase in Subscribers
LSHTM and Domain7 launched the new website on the Drupal8 platform, with the goal of integrating or consolidating more than 200 external websites in the process.
The new site has realized a 200 percent increase in new subscribers (over the previous six-month period), and a 400 percent increase in subscriptions to the student newsletter. Additionally, there’s been a 60 percent increase in prospectus requests, and a 150 percent increase in inquiries sent to the study team.
All told, the teams reviewed 4,000 content pages and deleted 500, while transferring 1,000 from the main website to the LSHTM intranet.
The school was able to shutter ten external research group websites and move them onto the school site, consolidating their web presences, saving money and increasing visibility.