The UBC Students’ Union Okanagan had plenty of wisdom to share. They just needed a site that would let students and staff find it.
Responsive Web Design
Ranked as one of the top universities in all of British Columbia and Canada, the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) has been a global centre for research and teaching. With roughly 60,000 enrolled students every year, UBCO was having some major issues with their student union website (www.ubcsuo.ca) and realized they needed to make some changes to better satisfy their students and staff working on campus.
UBCSUO was dealing with a very outdated and poorly designed website that was doing more harm than good. Some of the major problems that Acro Media needed to help UBCSUO fix were:
Extremely high call volumes from confused students and parents. This was due to a poorly organized site, and no clear calls to action for users. The student union needed a site that could easily and effectively deliver information without users needing to call in for clarification.
The inability for students and staff to organize and promote events. This goes back to point number one. Since the entire site was hard to navigate, it was very difficult for students to organize and promote their events.
An outdated website that wasn’t mobile-friendly. In 2015, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches on Google for the first time ever. It’s safe to say that a mobile-first approach was a necessity.
At the end of the day, all three of these points fall back on one major problem that needed to be solved. Acro Media needed to create a solution for streamlining the interaction between the website, the students, and the staff.
"Drupal was the only answer. "
Streamlined Solutions for a Busy Student Body
Through the flexibility and customization options that the Drupal platform provides, it was very easy to develop a website that would satisfy the students and staff at UBCSUO. Here is how we did it.
Information Architecture — Where it All Begins
We knew that in order to solve the issues of having a disorganized website and bad UX, we needed to figure out the main goals for UBCSUO’s website and then create a powerful information architecture to achieve these goals. An information architecture is a structural design of all the information that a website needs to share. It’s the process of finding out what the main goals are for a website and then developing the best user paths to deploy that content. This is why before we start any project with a client we host a kickoff call so we know exactly what the main objectives are for the website and can develop an IA that meets those objectives.
With a massive website and a bunch of content, we knew having a proper IA would have a huge impact on the UBCSUO site. You can view their IA below.
Displaying Relevant Content & Reducing Phone Calls
By updating the home page, creating custom web forms, showcasing content that is more relevant and easier to find, and adding directories for quick access to contact info, we were able to satisfy the user's attention when they landed on the UBCSUO website. Organizing the site and giving the visitors what they want to see and read has drastically reduced the call volume coming in from confused/frustrated students and staff.
Easy Site Management for Promotions and Events
Because Drupal is very user-friendly, the staff at UBCSUO can now update the home page very easily, change out rich media content and display exactly what they need to be showing to the students at any given time. This has made it much easier for promoting events and managing the website.
Whether someone is visiting the site from their phone, tablet or desktop, UBCSUO will now have a website that creates a seamless user experience across all channels. With more and more site visitors going mobile, having a responsive website will have a huge impact on satisfying their site users and reducing customer service calls.
Having an easy-to-navigate site reduced call volume (and client workload) dramatically. And while the old site relied on a CMS system that required the client to go to their old agency whenever they wanted something fixed, the new Drupal-powered site allows the client to add or customize content whenever they want.
Their main goal was to build a website that would reduce the workload of their staff, and that’s exactly what happened. Since the new site launch, there has been a total of 219 form/booking requests filled out and submitted. In UBCO’s case, this is 219 more phone calls they didn’t have to deal with.
Here are some more statistics after launching the new site.
2015-2016 Year over Year Comparison — Sept 15th - July 30st
Mobile/tablet bounce rate decreased over 20%
Mobile/tablet traffic increased over 100%
User Engagement Stats
Pages per session increased 9.30%
Over 219 booking request forms submitted since Sept 15th
Pages per session increased 9.3%
Mobile traffic accounts for 27% of traffic
Lowered mobile bounce rate by 20%
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