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Being a premier web agency for higher education, KWALL leverages over a decade’s experience in building websites to produce measurable results in key areas. This includes student recruitment, alumni engagement, donor relations, diversity and inclusion, and accessibility. The company delivers digital experiences and content that allow for intuitive site navigation and improved user experience.
Following is the conversation that Kevin Wall, the CEO of KWALL, had with CIO Applications Magazine.
Let’s dive into the thoughts Kevin shared about KWALL’s solution-based approach for higher Ed websites and online presence and how the company is better than its competitors.
What challenges do KWALL’s clients face today in the EdTech space, and how is KWALL effectively addressing these issues?
KWALL has worked with a variety of higher education clients from large universities, community colleges, religious-affiliated universities, and everything in between. Each has unique challenges, but we find many commonalities in the web/technical needs and pain points experienced by these institutions.
We’re helping many schools that once had a “hands-on” on-campus approach and are now experiencing a need to improve their websites’ user experience. Many schools had relied on a local, on-campus approach to grow enrollments, but with the recent need to shift to remote and online learning this past year, many higher education institutions have leveraged KWALL to help them be competitive digitally. We’ve seen colleges and universities have a range of needs, from just wanting to improve their online application user experience all the way to completely revamping their entire website and user journey for all target audiences.
We’ve seen an exponential increase in accessibility lawsuits leading to many clients requiring constant website monitoring and maintenance services. With many higher education institutions having a multitude of site editors and content managers, KWALL is helping with constant monitoring, flagging, and remediation of new content to stay on top of accessibility requirements. At larger institutions, we’re seeing the need to optimize web platforms and reduce the complexity of managing many sites and systems. As a result, we’ve been implementing digital platforms that simplify website hosting and improve an organization’s ability to manage their web platforms.
Please walk us through the solutions that KWALL provides based on its methodology, features, and benefits involved.
The last year has shown all industries, including higher education, the importance of having a strong digital presence.
We’re helping many schools who once had a “hands-on” on campus approach and are now experiencing a need to improve their websites’ user experience
Please share with us a few customer success stories.
Over the last few years, we’ve completed several platform migrations for clients, including several large, four-year state institutions. One of KWALL’s key differentiators is content migration services. We have a defined process for handling migrating content from one CMS to another, and it typically involves custom migration scripts based on content types. This process has saved our clients hundreds of hours in internal resources having to copy and paste the content over to a new site. We’ve also helped many community colleges to improve their prospective student journey by using KWALL’s Guided Pathways approach. This program finder guides students in selecting their ideal career and provides valuable information such as potential job titles, salaries, continuing education opportunities, and tuition costs per program.
Our strategy with all projects is to be data-driven in a way that we will use the research and discovery phase and findings to determine the true needs of all audiences and users of a website. We do this by leveraging secondary and primary research findings from methodologies such as focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and surveys. We know that a website’s design is only as good as the user’s experience, so we combine our creative capabilities with the research and discovery phase findings to make sure that every page is delivered to answer the questions and needs of the website users.
What differentiates KWALL from the other players in the space?
There are many agencies out there targeting the higher education vertical. Many are new players and have come into our market looking for work. One thing that stands out with KWALL is our decade of work in the space resulting in our defined project management processes and capabilities. We focus on the real technical needs of our clients. We understand that every client has different needs as well as different internal resources, so we adjust to each client accordingly. We’re not just making a website or integrating a system. We’re solving problems at the school. We know how to handle large sets of stakeholders and achieve the goals of enrolment, legal, marketing, and IT departments, all while providing optimal user experiences for students, donors, and faculty. We’ve already been there and done that for over a decade. Most of our competitors in our space don’t focus on the technical requirements of a site and the specifics of a school. That’s where we shine. It’s not just a student portal; these sites and systems need to be connected to the uniqueness of our clients specifically.
What makes KWALL’s approach unique is not that we have a set process for building a website; it’s that after 14 years in business, over 600 education sites under our belt, and 30+ highly experienced team members, we’ve perfected the art of listening to our clients, bringing strategy to every web build, and delivering success at every launch.
What does the future hold for KWALL?
We’re improving our platforms to reduce the learning curve of managing websites and content, increasing our clients’ access to products and services provided by our partnerships with vendors, and creating an ability to keep accessibility compliance across all platforms. Further, we’re continuously growing our team and adding specialized resources such as Accessibility Specialists, UI/UX Designers, and Research and Discovery Leads. We’re also attending and collaborating on developer education events with the CMSs we work with. We’re always on our toes, making sure we’re staying ahead of the curve on anything relevant to higher education and technology.