Best Relaunch or Redesign of a Site

A redesigned university open house website draws 15,000 more visitors

On a modest budget, this new UC Berkeley website increased attendance of a one-day event by 50 percent. PR Daily’s 2012 Digital PR and Social Media Awards were presented by Synaptic Digital. Learn more about Synaptic Digital here (pdf).

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When planning an event that draws 30,000 people annually, how do you make sure you get the information to the people who need it, in a way they can use it, so that the schedule is easily accessible, the venue easy to navigate, and the experience worth the time?

The University of California at Berkeley has the answer—you build a better website. While you’re at it, so that guests can access it throughout the day, make the website mobile-friendly and add an iPhone app. Add social media and location-based services, and you’ve got a winner.

UC Berkeley’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs hosts its “Cal Day” open house annually for a day of discovery and serious fun, but the event’s old website needed a makeover.

Think not just “makeover” here, but imagine a website accessorized to the max.

Here is what helped the Cal Day website garner top honors for UC Berkeley in the Best Relaunch or Redesign of a Site category of PR Daily’s Digital PR and Social Media Awards.

The new snappy, more visual and interactive website includes:

• Site navigation that makes it easy for prospective students and families with kids to find information tailored for them
• Tips about transportation, parking, food, visitor services, and first aid
• Updated branding
• A Twitter feed for #sharecalday
• Live crowdsourced photo-sharing
• A revolving events slide show

The mobile website uses a geolocation-based, dynamic event search, which includes walking directions and useful tips.

The attendance numbers aren’t the only statistics indicating the website’s success. Visitors to the site browsed twice as many pages in 2012 as the last three years, mobile traffic doubled on Cal Day, and for the first time since the University has had a Web presence about the day, the site received more visits on Cal Day than any previous day.

A look at screen captures of the Web pages gathered during the April 2012 event had our judges convinced the engaging new website should be among top contenders for this category. Seeing how it lives on and creates anticipation for the next Cal Day sealed the deal.

Take a look for yourself. Visit the UC Berkeley Cal Day website here, and see if it doesn’t make you wish you could attend the event in 2013.

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