Why Drupal is Dominating the Higher Education Sector

Sep 30, 2013

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Drupal

Drupal web technology is increasingly being adopted across the globe and is currently in use by massive organizations including The White House, McDonald’s, Twitter, IKEA and many more*. We can assume that big guys like these have taken the time to vet it. The reasons to choose Drupal are literally endless: pick n' choose modules, an army of developers contributing worldwide, cost effectiveness, always evolving, etc, etc. There’s no doubt why progressive institutions in higher education wouldn’t want the same. In fact, schools such as Harvard and MIT have been leading the charge with Drupal for over seven years.

The Drupal content management system is successful in the higher education space because it's been able to address key pain points that come along with managing and maintaining complex sites with hundreds of different "contributors" from various departments and schools. Managing a university's entire web presence, maintaining and implementing a current content strategy, and keeping compliant with campus-wide standards and accessibility guidelines isn't easy. Thankfully, Drupal addresses these challenges and is quickly becoming the top choice for higher education websites.

Quick facts about Drupal in higher education*:

  • Harvard, MIT, and every Ivy League school currently uses Drupal
  • 71 out of the top 100 universities use Drupal
  • 28% of all .EDU sites use Drupal

In 2006, ImageX made the decision to develop exclusively with Open Source technology, particularly Drupal. With one of our key markets being higher education, it's really exciting to see the impact Drupal has had with all our clients, and even more so with the education sector as a whole. We're huge fans of the education sector because it's filled with brilliant people with great ideas. Unfortunately, it's also filled with bad websites. With the power of Drupal, we are here to change that.

Luckily, school’s are beginning to recognize this and more and more are making the switch to Drupal as their CMS.

We develop and design in Drupal because it makes it easier for schools to create and maintain websites that are customized to their institution. We want you to be able to use your time to focus on the important task of engaging, enrolling and retaining students. By working with schools including Indiana State University, Portland State University, Stanford, Arizona State University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and the University of British Columbia, ImageX built a series of Drupal modules with a workflow specifically designed for higher education. We came to understand the obstacles that school’s face as well as the eagerness to propel into the future so we created a website accelerator package that we employ with each higher ed implementation. 

With Drupal, schools can attain big cost savings and time efficiencies while making their (web) lives easier. Drupal is backed by a community of over 600,000 users and developers worldwide, who collaborate and work daily to ensure that the software is super easy to use, that it's always up to date and that it's always evolving as fast as the web is.

Here's a few instances why Drupal and ImageX's accelerator package are appealing for higher education websites:

Content Generation:

If you are in charge of generating content, you don't have to be a web expert. Drupal has a user-friendly interface that easily allows administrators to upload content, manage any media and even spin up a brand new additional site in minutes. Drupal at its core is a CMS - updating and creating new content is what it's built to do.

Reusable Content (Content Syndication):

Being able to create and edit content is one thing, but reusing content and disseminating it across different department and sub sites is another. With this key module for content sharing, creating and editing content that can be published and shared throughout different sections of the institutions site is simple. You can share specific news, events, media and information with any site within your network. You also get access to a library of already generated content.

Branding & Design:

Staying on brand, being compliant with campus-wide standards and having the ability to adapt quickly has proved to be a hassle with other proprietary web platforms. With this accelerator in place, we're able to easily create awesome looking design templates that make for a consistent user experience across all of the schools' websites. But, there's also our Branding Dashboard that allows for unique customization so department sites can showcase their personality without straying too far from the brand guidelines.

Mobile & Accessibility:

Once you have your website, you’ll want it to perform well too. We’ve ensured that we include features that increase user interaction. Feel confident knowing that every article you've created will be Search Engine Optimized from the start with meta-tags, page titles, descriptions and more. ImageX is an accessibility ambassador so we ensure our accelerators will always fulfill the promise of it being truly a ‘world wide web’ for everyone, including those with disabilities. Also, more students are viewing school websites from their phone or tablet than their personal computer, so we always design ‘mobile first’, and Drupal makes that process a breeze. This means that your site is going to look just as good on a small screen as it does on a laptop without having to develop a separate mobile site.

It’s more clear now than ever that Drupal will save you a ton of headaches down the road, save you some money, keep you from being another "bad website", and show that your school values its diversity but stands together unified.

With the web evolving as fast as it does today, schools now have access to software like Drupal and specialized higher ed web development firms like ImageX. And what a relief! Imagine if we still had to look at websites like this?...

ImageX is an award winning open source web design and development firm with offices in Vancouver, BC and Los Angeles, CA. If you'd like to learn more about ImageX and our higher ed services, contact us and get started today

*Resources:
Drupal Showcase - IKEA. Retrieved from http://www.drupalshowcase.com/drupal-showcase/ikea
Drupal Showcase - McDonalds. Retrieved from http://www.drupalshowcase.com/drupal-showcase/mcdonalds-0
Drupal Showcase - Twitter. Retrieved from http://www.drupalshowcase.com/drupal-showcase/twitter
Drupal Showcase - The White House. Retrieved from http://www.drupalshowcase.com/drupal-showcase/white-house
Acquia - Drupal in Education. Retreived from https://www.acquia.com/drupal-education