School of Dentistry: It’s your turn

Just a couple of months ago, WebLife team members celebrated the first full-on launch of a complete site when we pulled back the curtains on the new patient-care site for UT Dentistry. We’ve learned plenty and we’ve stayed with dentistry for our next launch: the new School of Dentistry website, set to go live very soon. While new dental patients were the target audience for the UT Dentistry relaunch, we’ve focused squarely on prospective and current dental students with this new site. (Dental researchers and their projects are on track for our next site launch, which will happen later this year.)

I’ll have more details on the dates and other particulars about the new academics site next week on the blog, but I’m excited to preview some of the new site features for you now. The consultants at NewCity, a Virginia-based agency that is behind the design and audience research for the School of Dentistry site, tapped into some important information about prospective and current students when they started working on plans for the new School of Dentistry site last winter. Yes, the school’s great reputation is well-known, but NewCity advised us to focus on the “good fit” student when we worked on the new site.

Sky-high test scores and college grades will open doors to lots of dental schools, and the UT Health Science Center definitely looks for and attracts those top students. But what makes the Health Science Center appealing to prospective students nationwide, who often have many top schools from which to choose? Audience research found that prospective dental students who came to San Antonio to visit and interview found our campus friendly and welcoming. These students thought our programs were competitive, but they also felt that the atmosphere was supportive and collegial.

School of Dentistry new website sample of testimonial
Students tell our story best. Over and over, we found students in the School of Dentistry who were glad to say how welcoming and friendly they found the School of Dentistry to be and how pleased they are to be here. It’s a message that matters to prospective students.

We’ve kept those impressions and desires in mind as we’ve built the site. And we know that a prospective student isn’t going to simply take us at our word, so we’ve got lots of students giving their impressions of the School of Dentistry and saying why they chose the Health Science Center.

Want to know a secret?

We didn’t have to prompt a single student to say good things about the School of Dentistry. Without exception—from the dental hygiene program students to the Ph.D. candidates—every student we talked to backed up the sentiments that NewCity consultants heard during audience research. We’re friendly. We have a lot of resources. Our faculty members care. It’s a nice place to go to school.

In addition to all the big smiles and ringing endorsements, I think the redesign is going to help prospective students easily find the information they seek. The redesign will answer questions they may not have thought to ask before visiting our website.  We know that information has to be organized well and it has to be easy to access on multiple devices. And we know that students look first for the programs they seek on higher-education websites, which is why details on the programs in the School of Dentistry make up most of the pages on the new site. On the new academics website, you’ll see what are called menu blocks routing prospective and current students to information on tuition, clinical experiences, admission dates and more.

School of Dentistry website sample of menu blocks
Each program page has “menu blocks,” which offer a quick way for prospective students to get to the information they seek. It helps organize the information on the page in an easy-to-grasp way.

The color combos are intentional, as are the little icons at the top. (We don’t want to hit people over the head about money, so a tooth icon was selected for the tuition menu block instead of a dollar sign.)

We’ve put a lot of thought into the organization of the site and we hope the educated decisions we made will cut down on the time it takes for a prospective student to get to the information he or she needs. We want our new site to tell the story of the School of Dentistry that is already out there on social media and on student forums. We’ve got a video featuring some familiar faces around the School of Dentistry and some other features not seen previously on the website. Stay tuned.


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