The University of British Columbia has launched a transformation of its website today.
After 11 months of development, the university went public with its effort to be among the first large public universities in Canada to move from an information-focused website to an intentionally experiential website.
“For the past two years UBC has been making a serious effort to embrace digital communications,” said Kari Grist, managing director of UBC Communications and Marketing, which led the effort. “We think this new site is an important advance in philosophy and digital execution for a global university.”
The new university website home page strikes a different tone by profiling in-depth stories making use of what’s known as a trans-media approach – that is, stories that engage online readers through animation, video, infographics and slideshows.
Starting today with a range of international stories, the site also includes ways for the campus community to share stories on the home page UBC Now section through multiple, visual windows.
“We wanted to think outside the box, and provide information in a way that shows our personality and conveys our bold, dynamic community,” said Grist. “At the same time, we aimed to simplify navigation and make it easier find information.”
The university looked at what the best organizations were doing around the world, conducted web analytics and usability testing, and led an extensive internal consultation.
“We are encouraged by the positive feedback we have received and we wish to thank the large number of contributors from across our campuses for bringing their energy and ideas to the project,” said Grist.
The launch builds on recent efforts to build a creative digital communications culture that include use of an internal story sharing platform called StoryBox, the adoption of an Open Minds Forum online panel research tool, and the recent launches of a more extensive digital annual report and university newsroom.
See the new UBC website at http://www.ubc.ca