Sanmita, IMPP Together Again

We love when clients return to Sanmita with new projects! This time, Sanmita is teaming up with the Ithaca Motion Picture Project to revamp the organization’s website and web management. The refreshed website will run on AcademicsWeb, Sanmita’s exclusive content management system (CMS).

The Ithaca Motion Picture Project operates a silent movie museum in Ithaca, NY’s beautiful lakeside Stewart Park and works to preserve the area’s silent picture history.

Sanmita designed and built a website for IMPP several years ago, and we have helped maintain the site. Now, the organization wants to update the design and function of the website. They also need a customized, manageable CMS, and AcademicsWeb is a perfect fit.

Read on for a sneak peek at the new design:

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Grading Higher Ed Mobile Efforts

Since our client, the College of Saint Rose launched its mobile site (check it out from your smartphone or on our responsive site tester — it looks fantastic!), we’ve been analyzing how other schools are adapting to mobile technology.  The results, as far as we’ve seen, are mixed. Some universities have sharp, well-conceived mobile sites. They offer the most important information (Admissions, Academics, News, Financial Info, Visiting Info) with a clean, uncluttered design. We love this!

These schools understand that mobile products are essential for higher ed recruiting. Young people are spending more time on mobile devices and mobile browsing. In 2013, 68% of prospective students say they have looked at a college web site on a mobile device, according to a study from higher education consulting firm Noel-Levitz.  To reach prospective students, your school needs to be in the right technological spots.

Unfortunately, many higher ed institutions are lagging behind. They’re relying on their desktop sites to work across platforms. A survey of 200 private and public schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania showed 70% lacked any mobile products and 50% were seen as have deficient mobile products, either because of inferior technology, poor content or both, according to The Princeton Partners. Those are incredibly disappointing results.

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Follow the Teens

With all the headlines about Facebook, sometimes other social media networks get pushed out of the conversation. A quick look in our inbox reminded @Sanmita why that shouldn’t be. For anyone trying to reach young Americans (that means you, higher education), YouTube deserves your attention.  That’s because teens are spending more time on YouTube than any other social media platform.

In November 2013, 74% of social media users 14 to 18 years old said they used YouTube frequently, compared to 60% for Facebook, according to new data from The Intelligence Group and Emarketer. Those young users are the very prospective students that universities and colleges are trying to reach with their social media marketing.

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Sanmita Welcomes Wheaton College

Sanmita is pleased to welcome Wheaton College as our newest client. The college, located in Norton, Mass., joins Sanmita’s growing roster of higher education clients. Through our new partnership, Sanmita will collaborate with Wheaton’s IT and web teams to evaluate their current systems and processes, and recommend strategies to build a more robust and scalable web platform.

Sanmita will also assist Wheaton with its mobile strategy, including developing mobile apps and responsive websites.

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The College of Saint Rose Mobile Site Goes Live

The College of Saint Rose is sporting a new look these days — at least on handheld devices. On February 16, the college’s mobile site went live, transforming its website into a responsive design that adapts to any screen size.  Sanmita and College of Saint Rose collaborated on the site’s features, and Sanmita developed the responsive design and mobile site. The end result is a functional, streamlined and attractive mobile experience.Picture 3

What’s particularly exciting for us is that the College of Saint Rose’s mobile site uses Sanmita’s Smart Filter plugin. Our plugin can virtually take any website and convert it to a responsive site.  Our Smart Filter plugin works with any content management system (CMS) and can make a website responsive in about one-third the time that it would take to create an entirely new mobile website.  If a client desires, Sanmita can implement the tool and also provide plugin hosting.

Sanmita has already helped major universities like Tulane University, Texas Wesleyan University, and the University of North Texas, Dallas with their mobile web strategies. Want to see how your school’s site would look on a smartphone, tablet and desktop computer? Try our complimentary responsive design testing tool.

For the College of Saint Rose project, Sanmita worked with the school’s existing website and CMS. Although we were unfamiliar with the school’s CMS, we successfully navigated the system with help from the college’s web team to build the new site. Our vast experience with higher education websites means we are up for challenges like this one.

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Student Feedback On Social Media

We all know social media is a fantastic way to connect with prospective students. Young adults are heavy consumers of technology and avid social media users. But how they’re using social media — and where they’re spending their time — changes all the time.

Now there is some fresh data to help guide your strategy. Social media is critical in college searches, with 68% of prospective students saying they social media is influential in their college research, according to the 2014 Social Admissions Report by Chegg, Zinch, and Uversity.

Seventy-three percent of students surveyed say colleges and universities should have a social media presence, but many felt the content available is not relevant.

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Alerts in the Digital Age

Remember the days when a snowstorm was raging in your town and you’d have to wait for news on the radio to hear if your school or work was closed? Social media and mobile devices have radically changed all that. We’re in the middle of (yet) another snowstorm in Ithaca, NY and, early this morning, I received word of our local school closing from 5 sources (text alert, Twitter update, Facebook status, email and a phone call).

Ithaca-area colleges, including Ithaca College, Cornell University and Tompkins Cortland Community College, also used Twitter and Facebook to keep their communities updated. (Oddly, Cornell’s dedicated weather Twitter account @Cornell_Weather was silent on news of the storm or Cornell’s delayed opening.)

Moments like this are another reminder of how technology is revolutionizing alert systems. It is also a good time to revisit your alert policies for weather or security notifications. Here are a few suggestions:

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Happy Birthday Facebook

Tomorrow is a big day for social media: Facebook turns 1o years old. The social media network has revolutionized web use, connectivity and social interactions. For higher education, Facebook has elevated marketing, branding and recruiting.

As the social media behometh matures, its audience is growing up too. And while there’s been a lot of press coverage of young adults abandoning Facebook, that hardly means it is becoming obsolete. Rather, Facebook is changing and its users must evolve along with it.

What does all this mean for higher education institutions? Facebook is and should remain a centerpiece of your social media strategy.

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