Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tarleton's degree search wins an award!

I am excited to share that our team was nominated for and won first place in the category, "Most Creative Use of Cascade Server" at this year's Hannon Hill conference. Our nomination was based on the degree search/site our team built for Tarleton's website.

The Web Services Team
Morgan Hammond, Courtnie Ridgway, Daphne Hunt,
(bottom) Karole Schroeder
"The university uses Cascade CMS to create XML files that are scraped for keywords and custom metadata to enhance search results and better meet the needs of prospective students."

Award for "Most Creative Use of Cascade"
To improve the marketability of our degrees and programs, decrease the duplication and inaccuracies in posted degree information, and fine tune the marketing funnel to prospective students in order to generate better, higher leads in our recruiting process, we designed a new degree search/site in our newly responsive layout. We implemented in August 2015, and made the search directly available from Tarleton's homepage. Our desire was to create a shopping experience, allowing students to navigate related degrees and determine what career goals would lead to particular degrees and programs. With the custom search engine, user queries scan the metadata (which includes keywords) that we added to each degree and program. The search mechanism is being implemented in multiple locations across our website as we go through our web conversion, such as our campus location websites, to help users narrow down their searches more easily based on their specific interests or locations.

Since implementation, the degree search has been the most popular area of Tarleton's website after the main homepage. During the FY15-16 year, the degree search website received 1.7 million pageviews. Web Services regularly analyzes the visitor data and monitors conversion rates of degree search users to specific program "Request More Information" forms. Results show substantial conversion rates for many degree programs, and as the information on the degree pages is further evaluated and improved, we expect the conversion rates to increase even more.

You may view the degree search and try out the functionality at