5 Reasons Drupal Website Design Makes Sense for Higher Education

Posted By Shane Sevo on Friday, February 26, 2016 - 15:21

Institutions of higher education worldwide have chosen Drupal as their content management framework because of its strong reputation for supporting current and future needs of higher education website users, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Drupal website design offers colleges and universities a wide array of web content management tools necessary to cope with the broad scope most higher education websites encompass.

Expectations of higher education websites are numerous and demanding, Drupal website design offers a solution.

Most colleges and universities consist of a number of different IT bailiwicks, each of which may have its own technical director. Drupal is not only open source, but has the flexibility and scalability to cope masterfully with this setup. At the same time, university CIOs have to establish an overall technology vision across departments and colleges. Drupal is great at making standardization and management of content practical, even for large schools.

Here are five other reasons Drupal website design makes sense for higher education.

1. Drupal Distributions Exist Specifically for Higher Education

Starting from the Drupal core and going to a customized, polished site can be complex and take time. Many colleges and universities don't have the resources to start from scratch or to pay someone to do so. But Drupal distributions exist specifically for higher education. These are prepackaged collections of installation profiles, modules, libraries, and themes on top of the Drupal core. Creating your site with a Drupal distribution can accelerate the installation process for typical site builds.  From this base installation, web development, theme design, and content migration can proceed to finish the website build in a timely fashion.

2. Responsive Design Is Baked In

Responsive web design is no longer simply nice to have, but essential, particularly in a university environment full of young adults who tend to adopt new technologies quickly. Drupal web design lets you build responsiveness in from the start, so no matter what devices your users access your site with, the interface is suitable. Drupal 8 delivers smooth, responsive website design straight from the box. Your Drupal site adapts to user evolution, and allows administrators to manage content through a responsive, mobile-ready dashboard, offering mobile compatibility without the necessity of installing new themes.

3. It's Easy to Implement Different Access Rights

University websites often require a number of different privilege or access levels, and Drupal web design makes these easier to implement. Site administrators can group access privileges by function or role, with permissions assigned to groups of users so individual users don't have to be manually granted privileges. This has the effect of distributing responsibilities such as creating and managing content without placing undue burden on your IT team and infrastructure. And with the domain access module, content, configuration settings, and users can be shared among multiple school portals if need be.

With Drupal, different access rights can be designed right into websites.

4. Drupal's Maturity and Broad Use Take Much of the Pain Out

Drupal website design is mature technology, and there's hardly anything you can't do with it. Colleges and universities that turn to proprietary software often find the limitations imposed on them too confining. Development and hosting with Drupal web design is less painful as well, because you have your choice of outstanding hosting platforms like Pantheon and Acquia. What's more, you only have to create a site with the necessary functionality one time. After that, you can create an installation profile and generate any number of clones from it. 

5. It includes Section 508 Compliance Features

Public universities receiving federal funding must be compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Many private schools and organizations also choose to be 508 compliant, and Drupal website design includes modules that make compliance easier. Essentially, Section 508 compliance means all users, regardless of disability status, can access technology and use the internet. This may mean, for example, that a website is compatible with assistive technology (like screen readers). Drupal modules make it easy to create a compliant site and to validate the site's accessibility.

Drupal website design makes sense for institutions of higher education, allowing functionality like launching multiple branded, turnkey sites without self-hosting. In short, it has the power, flexibility, and "blueprints" (via Drupal distributions) that colleges and universities need to create sites of which much is expected. Is your college or university preparing for a website redesign or relaunch? If so, we invite you to get in touch with Commercial Progression with any questions you may have about this high stakes undertaking or to discuss Drupal web design.

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