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Higher Ed: Lenoir-Rhyne University

Digital real estate renovation.

Creating a successful modern student enrollment journey.

Lenoir-Rhyne University's existing site failed to intuitively guide visitors, stalling out before they could take key enrollment actions. To this end, it became imperative that the next-generation website design support an engaging and efficient modern consumer user journey.

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The Lenoir-Rhyne University Marketing + Communications team identified their website as the single most important mar-comm vehicle in their arsenal. Yet the existing Lenoir-Rhyne site didn’t bring the totality of the student experience to life or showcase the value of an LR education. Overall, the existing web presence felt too institutional and unintuitive. Further, the site’s information architecture was disorganized and the navigation wasn’t effectively guiding visitors to take key enrollment actions. For example, academic program pages were underwhelming, missing compelling details and valuable information for prospective students. Finally, the existing website failed to effectively differentiate and represent the three University campuses.

Modern Consumer Insight

Barkley partnered with the Lenoir-Rhyne University's MarComm team to conduct extensive stakeholder research with both faculty and students. These insights pointed at building on the existing visual aesthetic of the website, pushing it to new levels. Further, issues with the findability of content were revealed. LR offers students a diverse value, inclusive of a separate seminary, robust graduate programs, and a range of undergraduate academic pathways. 


To inform the new site’s program content, Barkley worked with the Lenoir-Rhyne MarComm team to design a straightforward questionnaire to be completed by all campus academic programs. The answers and information provided through the questionnaire helped improve the entire catalog of academic offerings in a collaborative approach, giving voice to each program across all three of Lenoir-Rhyne’s campuses. While this research was being conducted, Barkley’s Visual Design team was hard at work creating an all-new, best-in-class visual identity and user interface for the Drupal 9 lr.edu website. This design had to effectively tell Lenoir-Rhyne’s unique brand story by establishing a clear and engaging modular design system. Barkley’s approach to modular design (also known as atomic design) ensures the long-term sustainability of a website by utilizing flexible components, patterns, and templates.

These design elements culminated in an engaging and identifiable homepage template. Above the fold, Barkley utilized ambient B Roll footage that served to immediately introduce the visitor to the Lenoir-Rhyne campus culture. We worked with LR’s internal Marketing and Communications team to settle on a compelling tagline to overlay this multimedia masthead — ”Passionate Investors in a Better Tomorrow. The new design was underpinned by personalized content, catering to an array of multi-campus audiences, supported by 15 unique content types. This personalized content experience was driven by visitors self-identifying through the interactive “What kind of student are you?” homepage experience. Further, key pages and paths were supported by testimonials from current Lenoir-Rhyne students and recent graduates.

“Barkley stands out from other agencies because of their experience, their project approach, and their focus on user experience + content strategy. — Doug Minor, Associate Vice President for Marketing Communications Lenoir-Rhyne University”

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