This post contributed by Jason Toal, SFU TLC and member of SCETUG.
Was it a coincidence that February’s T.E.L.L. session, “Spreading Stories with Social Media” was so aptly named? I think not! We had the pleasure last week of participating in Tori Klassens webinar which covered the revised strategy and design of the BCcampus website.
Tori explained that she had inherited an over built website with many
content areas (12) that needed to be updated regularly, a group of stakeholders that could not easily identify what the institution did, and many of the users (mostly students) that were actually looking for the Apply BC website, however unsuccessful those attempts may have been. Of course at the time she was given this task she was expected to do address these challenges with a team of one!
“Talk to the users”
Her first step was to put together a team and begin gathering data and talking to the users. She ran them through some basic ‘usability tests’ which mostly involves giving users a task, in this case, to find the Open Educational Resources on the site and then observing their experience. Tori remarked how illuminating this was in terms of identifying problems which I can certainly attest to. From this came the basis for the new design.
“The story of BCcampus”
Next was the content strategy. The BCcampus team decided to “tell the stories of the stakeholders”. Rather than brag about their own successes, why not share some of the success stories that others in their network were having? As Tori put it,
“If you want to be interesting, be interested in others.”
Which drove the overall style of the posts and allowed for a model to choose stories from a wide a pool of stakeholders as possible. The schedule for the newsletter publication worked out to every 3 weeks from which they would draw on the best blog posts to include. The posts themselves were budgeted up to 4 hours per post including research to ensure each story was rich in detail and appropriate media.
Today, BCcampus is delivering a responsive, story driven website. There is continued dialogue with users keeping potential problems at bay, and renewed input from stakeholders so all can see themselves as part of the BCcampus community.