Customer Spotlight: Hawai’i Pacific University

By Lauren Murray — Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 at 11:00am

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I recently spoke with Mikael Ladegaard from Hawai’i Pacific University regarding their recent website redesign.  The redesign, which also included a rebranding, was launched in mid-August 2017.  Phase 1 started in October 2016 and included a redesigned homepage and main menu.  Originally, they had almost 5,800 pages in Cascade CMS, not including PDFs. By the time they launched, they had reduced their total to around 600 pages.  

The team started by making a list of their essential content, or content that was crucial for launch day.  The project was very hectic, but luckily they had a lot of liberty to move things around.  Ladegaard is the only member of the IT team that works in Cascade CMS and worked on this project, but he partnered with two members of the university’s marketing team to complete the project.

Inter-departmental Collaboration

Ladegaard mentioned that “it was nice to work closely with marketing because we were able to share ideas across teams. Before we kicked off this project, my role was to govern everything from content to code. When we started the project it was clear early on that we would benefit immensely from having a separation of duties (while still assisting each other with decision making), having marketing own the content, and IT own the development and technology. Marketing does a lot better job of governing the website content than I ever could, which allows me to be better at developing and implementing new technology solutions. For our users, I would say that it’s a win-win scenario.”

In addition to that, marketing is now benefiting from a closer relationship with IT, which aids them with their marketing efforts utilizing technology.  While IT benefits from having marketing aid them in bringing some of their initiatives and efforts to the spotlight both internally and externally, gathering more support for change.

“Having a small team makes it easier to bring every area specialist on the same page in terms of needs and wants from our users and contributors,” adds Ladegaard, “while also better understanding available resources, and what is feasible to achieve within a certain time frame. In terms of separation of duty, it is also very clear who exactly is the owner of a particular area, which aids in streamlining communication. In our experience, being small allows you to be very agile.”

Cascade CMS blog image screenshot of Hawaii Pacific University

Redesign Goals

One of the goals for the redesign was to simplify the backend structure.  The old site had about 120 folders at the root level, which was a lot of content to look through for new users.  Ladegaard mentioned that they wanted to simplify the view and create a more logical folder structure that would make sense to new users.  With an updated site structure, they were expecting a few growing pains with finding pages or 404 errors.  

Besides simplifying the backend structure, their other goals were to be mobile first with their design, reduce the number of live pages by only having pages with a specific purpose, and reduce (if not eliminate) the number of pages with duplicate information. They also wanted to make sure that the information that was out there had gone through an approval process in terms of language and imagery used.

Ladegaard said that the one template approach makes it easier for a smaller team to accomplish everything that they are trying to do in Cascade CMS.  As a developer, there are fewer places where he needs to maintain code.  From a marketing perspective, having one template allows them to make their pages more uniform across the whole site.  Having one template also creates a similar user experience across sites and creating content is predictable for all users across Cascade CMS.  

If you'd like to be featured in a Hannon Hill Customer Spotlight blog post, please contact Lauren Murray at

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