Two years ago, SFU Beedie came to a sudden realization - their monster of a website had grown to an uncontrollable size and was no longer delivering the expected service to students and staff. The outdated appearance, coupled with its labyrinth-like structure, meant that prospective students were pushed to their limits trying to find the most basic of course information. All this before they had even stepped foot into a lecture hall.
Through a lengthy process of recategorization, stakeholder discussions and user testing, a new information architecture was born that helped guide an old website towards the present day. As the project approached the mid-way milestone, SFU onboarded Goat, and equipped us with design templates and style guides. We then began a race against time to help the digital team at SFU reach their promised deadlines by bringing the website to the finish line.
With an almighty categorization task at hand, the purpose of the re-launch was to provide a user-friendly solution to all stakeholders involved - whether they be prospective, current or past students; parents of students due to begin their education; staff and faculty of SFU, and others curious of SFU Beedie's ground-breaking research and work.
Each stakeholder has their own personal use of the website and the information in which it houses. With this in mind, it was important to provide a consistent page structure across all programs and its coinciding child pages that would allow a new user to quickly experience a feeling of familiarity when searching the site, and for returning users to know exactly where to go to reach their desired section.
We utilized CraftCMS, a content management system (CMS), which allowed us to easily structure the site around a meticulously planned hierarchy of information. Using Craft's modular component building process provided SFU staff with enough control and flexibility to safely manage uploaded content at scale.
The end product is structured with purpose, clean-in-finish and easy to navigate. A pleasing experience for all ages, prospective students or students of the past. By translating a complex Information architecture into a meaningful website structure, we collectively produced a highly functional hub of information that is a breeze to browse.