A Global Leader
Doha College started the 2020 - 2021 year in a critical and vulnerable situation. They were closing two campuses and relocating to a new, purpose-built, 90,000 square foot campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to government restrictions, no students, staff or parents could visit the new campus, and with continued uncertainty regarding when and if the campus would be open to their community, the team at Doha knew they needed space where anyone could go and access information — whether it be current or soon-to-be parents, staff or students. Doha College was in a website redesign with Finalsite so they knew they had the right tools to get the job done.
Karen Hannah, Director of Marketing and Communications, along with her team, worked tirelessly during the summer break of 2020 to roll-out its new website. “We knew the significance of our website and how important it was as a source of communication and information and would continue to be during the course of the pandemic. Our previous platform had many challenges, including information that was often hard to find, navigation that was not user-friendly and an unintuitive content management system. The community felt disengaged and this was reflected in the website analytics.”
Doha College is one of the oldest British curriculum schools in Doha, Qatar providing a world class education for 2500 students from 68 countries.
With a rich history spanning 41 years, Doha College proudly opened the doors to their new campus in September 2020. This purpose built facility enables their students, aged 3 - 18, to excel both in and out of the classroom.
“As the whole world battled through the continuous challenges of the pandemic, it forced us to think in new ways and embrace different norms. The one thing that has connected us all is community, and our new website has played a huge role in keeping our community connected.”
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Doha College faced a critical point where its most significant vulnerability was losing the very essence that had been tantamount to its success for its 41-year history in Qatar: their community.
This project came at the optimal time for Doha College. With multiple target markets to reach, all with varying levels of access to different school communication channels, the new website was the one resource where everyone could access information. The new hub provided the community with the confidence in Doha College to provide consistency especially at a time where the environment around them was inconsistent due to COVID-19.
“Staff, students and parents were unable to visit the school before its opening. For staff, walking through the gates only a short period before the beginning of the academic year was an overwhelming experience. They had to find their way around the expansive new campus and set up new classrooms before 2,500 students descended with excitement and trepidation,” Karen said. “Parents, unable to walk on campus, watched at the boundary gates waving goodbye to their child, nervous about the unique experiences before them as they entered a new and unfamiliar campus. The new website provided insight into life in the new school, provided reassurance prior to the beginning of the academic year to our whole community and provided that connection moving forward.”
New Campus Showcased on Website
First and foremost, their new website and content were purposefully and strategically built around their new campus, growth strategy and the evolving needs of their community. The most critical impact it had on their community was the opportunity to provide insights into the new campus. With ministerial guidelines in Qatar stating no parents could access any educational establishment due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was challenging for parents to connect with their childrens' new learning environment.
Their new website provided a window into the new facility, reducing anxiety felt by parents and other community members by allowing them to feel part of the experience and journey. Doha College used its COVID landing page to showcase the students and staff settling in. It also featured several unique and interactive elements to enhance the user experience including an interactive map indicating the location of the campus in relation to several well-known landmarks around Qatar. This immersive approach provided a real flavor of life at the ‘new’ Doha College, with a warm and welcoming tone.
In organic traffic
In search-generated traffic
Improved Site Navigation Directs Visitors to Key Landing Pages
The team wanted parents and prospective families to quickly find information so they opted for a mega site navigation with messaging supporting their mission. Each of these top level navigation elements lead to detailed landing pages that guide the user on a more comprehensive journey.
Academics Landing Page
With early learners up through secondary school, Doha College crafted an Academics landing page to help direct families to the appropriate school section. This landing page also includes access to important pages including Examination Results and University Destinations with its interactive map. If a family is looking at the Secondary School, they are directed to a page with comprehensive graphics on the different ages and corresponding year groups.
The page also uses accordion elements to showcase the curriculum at each key stage. For a new family to the school, this is an exceptional format for explaining what to many can seem complicated and confusing.
Admissions Landing Page
The Admissions landing page is a mini website unto itself. The entry requirements clearly lay out key criteria for prospective students and the application process details how to apply. Content on both these pages is well-styled to help guide families through the process. The enquire page and Plan A Visit each include a Finalsite Form embedded so families can quickly fill them out. And to add that personal touch to the admissions process, the Meet our Students brings a smile to prospective students as they include creative and fun videos.
Campus Landing Page
International schools are known for having very busy and robust campuses. Often this gets lost on school websites but not on Doha College’s Campus landing page. Simple things like School Timings and Term Dates, to more detailed information on their Co-Curriculars are displayed through rich imagery and interactive elements. Drilling deeper into Co-Curriculars brings visitors to a stunning page showcasing all the enrichment opportunities at Doha College.
News Blog to Keep Community Updated
Doha College also implemented a blog using Finalsite Posts in order to keep their community engaged and up-to-date on key information. From very brief notices to longer stories with photos and video embeds, they inform and delight their community through these stories.
The team at Doha College can be commended for rolling out a comprehensive new website during the pandemic while opening a new campus at the same time! A great partnership between Finalsite and their team and one that will continue in the years to come.
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