Cheyney University Overview

Cheyney University is the nation's oldest historically Black College, established in 1837. Many of their students are first-generation college students, and core to all of the work that Cheyney does is to fulfill this mission of helping families get into more positive circumstances through education.

Key Problems

  • They needed a digital presence to help increase enrollment, particularly amongst its diverse populations. Enrollment had been steadily declining to force the cutting of a few athletic and extracurricular programs.
  • Cheyney’s former website had 600-700 pages and it was difficult for a user to know how to navigate to desired pages. There was no single webmaster which not only caused redundant pages to be created but resulted in inconsistently designed pages.
  • There were very multiple distinct target audiences (e.g., prospective students, alumni) for the site that had entirely separate needs and the existing site did not make it easy for these separate groups how to proceed.

Our Approach

  • In order to boost applications and enrollment, we wanted the site to speak directly to prospective parents and students and convey the literal centuries of the University’s while at the same time ensuring it felt vibrant and modern. To this end, we wanted to incorporate large, bold imagery of the active campus during springtime to showcase the historic beauty with current students the user could empathize with.
  • In order to cut down on the content and make the site easy-to-navigate we knew we would need to communicate with the many stakeholders to see which content was critical and what could be merged or deleted. Throughout the project, we conducted interviews with over 15 different stakeholders and ensured alignment across departments on the site.
  • We did persona profiles to understand each of the different user groups we were speaking to and their goals when visiting our site. In order to provide direct user journeys for each of these groups, we made explicit paths for different user groups could take as a jumping off point immediately when they enter the site.

How we helped:

User Research

Through a series of collaborative human-centered-design exercises, we got a deep understanding of the visitors' background, motivations, and pain points.

Content Strategy

We helped ensure the website had an authentic voice which was clear and consistent throughout the site. The sitemap was constructed to ensure no pages were more than a few clicks away.


We created a sleek, modern design aesthetic which was tailored to help achieves the business objectives aligned on during the beginning of the project.


The site was built with mobile responsiveness in mind so there is no diminishment of the user experience regardless of device or browser. We leveraged HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, and JQuery and built this on top of the WordPress CMS to ensure it is seamless to update content.


After launch, we provided all the tools and tutorials needed to maintain the website, but we have helped out with analytics tracking, security monitoring, and adding new pages.