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The Content 
is the Experience 
Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered 
Student Affairs Website 
TIE9 
October 21 2014
Your presenters 
Janeen Alliston 
Director, Student Communications Services, UBC 
@janeenthebean 
! 
Brett Lee 
User Exper...
The problem
By the numbers 
1.2M page views per year 
12K-30K page views per day 
average time on page: 1m10s 
Overall satisfaction = ...
“Communication from the University is 
impersonal, repetitive, 
and self-aggrandizing.” 
-current UBC student
“Maybe I'm an idiot, but I'm 
annoyed that information like that might 
be so hard to find that I have to go through 
Goog...
“Students have clearly and consistently 
indicated that they want opportunities to 
choose what information they receive, ...
As one of the world’s leading universities, 
UBC creates an exceptional student 
experience, where all students can achiev...
“The challenge for the University is to give 
students more choices while also 
communicating necessary information to 
st...
Our vision
The goals
1 
Make it easy for students to find the 
information they’re looking for.
2 
Anticipate the information needs of 
students.
3 
Delight students with more than 
what they came for.
4 
Deliver a great digital experience that 
helps students act on the information.
And while we’re at it… 
Improve relevance and reliability 
Reduce the burden of managing so 
much content 
Consolidate the...
The redesign
This is a case study about 
structured content authoring 
was used to meet our 
communications goals.
But first, context.
User scenarios
Plan for 
success 
Have some 
fun 
Manage 
my courses, 
money and 
enrolment 
Know my 
campus I want to… 
Build my 
career...
Plan for 
success 
Know my I want to… 
campus 
Live well to 
learn well 
Have some fun 
Manage my 
courses, money 
and enr...
Structured content: 
the idea 
Carrot Halwa 
! 
Serves 4! 
! 
1 pound carrots, peeled! 
2 tablespoons ghee or neutral cook...
Structured content: 
the idea 
Carrot Halwa 
! 
Serves 4! 
! 
1 pound carrots, peeled! 
2 tablespoons ghee or neutral cook...
Just a few of the benefits 
1 More flexibility in display 
2 Data you can operate on 
3 Reusability
Reality check.
Reality - choose one: 
! 
# $
Reality - choose one: 
! 
#$
What are the 
content types?
Like LEGO™, only for content
Snowball effect
More layouts
Lessons learned
1 
Structured content is front-loaded 
and complex
2 
Think hard about where you’ll cut 
corners.
3 
Always have a fallback
4 
Achieve excellence through iteration
5 
Content in context is King
Lessons learned 
strategy edition
6 
Your context matters
7 
Think about your broader vision
8 
Never forget your users
Thank you
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website
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HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website

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Presenters: Janeen Alliston and Brett Lee

Students are busy. They are focused on the exam they have to write tomorrow or the paper due at the end of the month. So how do you create a stellar online experience that makes it easy for students to find and use the information they need, delight them while on your site and make them want to come back? The centralized student service offices at UBC (The University of British Columbia) decided to tackle this challenge by using key elements of the student experience, rather than organizational structure, in the redesign of their website, students.ubc.ca. This session will discuss the overhaul of students.ubc.ca, a project initiated by the need to replace the CMS being used to manage the site but really about creating a user-centered student affairs website designed around the needs and preferences of current students, not the business owners. The redesign and redevelopment of students.ubc.ca involved the migration of approximately 12,000 pages of content from 12 distinct microsites into one meaningful, connected and comprehensive site. The content was split into flexible components that can be published in any location on any of the roughly 700 new dynamic site pages. Learn how the redesign project was designed to ensure the new and improved site delivered on the site goals to make it easy for students to find the information they’re looking for when visiting the site, anticipate the information needs of students as they progress through their studies and experience at UBC, delight students with content and functionality that surpasses what they came to the site for and deliver an intuitive and seamless experience designed around the student experience that helps students act on the information and the invitation to participate. The presenters will provide a tour of the redesigned site, including before and after, highlighting the site structure, visual design and structured content strategy.

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HEW2014: The Content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website

  1. 1. The Content is the Experience Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website TIE9 October 21 2014
  2. 2. Your presenters Janeen Alliston Director, Student Communications Services, UBC @janeenthebean ! Brett Lee User Experience / Web Designer Student Communications Services, UBC Twitter Lurker !
  3. 3. The problem
  4. 4. By the numbers 1.2M page views per year 12K-30K page views per day average time on page: 1m10s Overall satisfaction = 65% Task Completion = 71% ! Jan 2010-Feb 2012 |
  5. 5. “Communication from the University is impersonal, repetitive, and self-aggrandizing.” -current UBC student
  6. 6. “Maybe I'm an idiot, but I'm annoyed that information like that might be so hard to find that I have to go through Google to find it, rather than being able to find it easily on the UBC website.” -(yet another) current UBC student
  7. 7. “Students have clearly and consistently indicated that they want opportunities to choose what information they receive, and how they want to receive it.” -Kirk Report, 2008
  8. 8. As one of the world’s leading universities, UBC creates an exceptional student experience, where all students can achieve their full potential and contribute to a civil and sustainable society. An exceptional student experience is defined by a supportive and inclusive environment, on a dynamic, vibrant campus, where students can achieve their full potential and are connected to the world.
  9. 9. “The challenge for the University is to give students more choices while also communicating necessary information to students.” -Kirk Report, 2008
  10. 10. Our vision
  11. 11. The goals
  12. 12. 1 Make it easy for students to find the information they’re looking for.
  13. 13. 2 Anticipate the information needs of students.
  14. 14. 3 Delight students with more than what they came for.
  15. 15. 4 Deliver a great digital experience that helps students act on the information.
  16. 16. And while we’re at it… Improve relevance and reliability Reduce the burden of managing so much content Consolidate the site ! !
  17. 17. The redesign
  18. 18. This is a case study about structured content authoring was used to meet our communications goals.
  19. 19. But first, context.
  20. 20. User scenarios
  21. 21. Plan for success Have some fun Manage my courses, money and enrolment Know my campus I want to… Build my career Live well to learn well
  22. 22. Plan for success Know my I want to… campus Live well to learn well Have some fun Manage my courses, money and enrolment Build my career
  23. 23. Structured content: the idea Carrot Halwa ! Serves 4! ! 1 pound carrots, peeled! 2 tablespoons ghee or neutral cooking oil! 8 green cardamom pods, seeds only, crushed! 3 cups whole milk! 1 1/4 cup sugar! 1/4 cup raisins! Pinch saffron threads! 1/4 cup unsalted pistachio nuts, chopped! ! Grate the carrots coarsely using a cheese grater. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy, high-sided skillet or saucepan. Add the crushed cardamom seeds and stir for about 30 seconds, until they are fragrant. Add the grated carrots to the pan and fry for about 3 minutes.! ! Add the milk and bring it up to the boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Then turn the heat down to a low and simmer the halwa, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Stir every so often to stop the milk forming a film or scorching on the bottom. The milk should have reduced by over a third by the end of the hour.! ! Add the sugar, raisins, and saffron to the pan and stir. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for until the halwa is thick and glossy, 15 to 20 minutes.! ! You can serve the halwa warm or cold. If serving warm, scoop into bowl, sprinkle pistachios over top and serve. If serving cold, press the halwa mixture into small ramekins. When ready to serve, overturn on to plates, sprinkle over the pistachios and serve.
  24. 24. Structured content: the idea Carrot Halwa ! Serves 4! ! 1 pound carrots, peeled! 2 tablespoons ghee or neutral cooking oil! 8 green cardamom pods, seeds only, crushed! 3 cups whole milk! 1 1/4 cup sugar! 1/4 cup raisins! Pinch saffron threads! 1/4 cup unsalted pistachio nuts, chopped! ! Grate the carrots coarsely using a cheese grater. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy, high-sided skillet or saucepan. Add the crushed cardamom seeds and stir for about 30 seconds, until they are fragrant. Add the grated carrots to the pan and fry for about 3 minutes.! ! Add the milk and bring it up to the boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Then turn the heat down to a low and simmer the halwa, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Stir every so often to stop the milk forming a film or scorching on the bottom. The milk should have reduced by over a third by the end of the hour.! ! Add the sugar, raisins, and saffron to the pan and stir. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for until the halwa is thick and glossy, 15 to 20 minutes.! ! You can serve the halwa warm or cold. If serving warm, scoop into bowl, sprinkle pistachios over top and serve. If serving cold, press the halwa mixture into small ramekins. When ready to serve, overturn on to plates, sprinkle over the pistachios and serve.
  25. 25. Just a few of the benefits 1 More flexibility in display 2 Data you can operate on 3 Reusability
  26. 26. Reality check.
  27. 27. Reality - choose one: ! # $
  28. 28. Reality - choose one: ! #$
  29. 29. What are the content types?
  30. 30. Like LEGO™, only for content
  31. 31. Snowball effect
  32. 32. More layouts
  33. 33. Lessons learned
  34. 34. 1 Structured content is front-loaded and complex
  35. 35. 2 Think hard about where you’ll cut corners.
  36. 36. 3 Always have a fallback
  37. 37. 4 Achieve excellence through iteration
  38. 38. 5 Content in context is King
  39. 39. Lessons learned strategy edition
  40. 40. 6 Your context matters
  41. 41. 7 Think about your broader vision
  42. 42. 8 Never forget your users
  43. 43. Thank you

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