When a client’s first statement is “Lets focus on the users”, you know you’re in for a great ride.

Historically the web presence of large institutions, and in particular educational institutions, is hamstrung by competing internal forces. That is, the users are pushed aside at the expense of internal pressures.

That’s not the case with the new TasTAFE site, launched late 2014.

We threw out the old architecture, the old UI and started fresh with the user at front of any decision we made.

Connecting courses with students

First and foremost, we needed to connect potential students with information on what they want to study. We planned a modular data structure that would allow easy maintenance but also accurate presentation of the schedule and details for upcoming semesters.

This modular structure meant we could create highlights like courses starting soon, feature courses, popular courses and courses related to news and marketing content. This ensured that the conversion goal at all times is an enquiry or application.

 

 

Mobile first

Web traffic is changing faster than we’ve seen before. Some of the sites we run are up to 70% mobile traffic with the average being just shy of 50%.

For this reason we’re taking a mobile first approach to development. This allows us to focus on the core structure and the core content. It mean we can concentrate on displaying the right information, to the right user, at the right time. It forces us to be brutal with our structures and ultimately leads to a site which performs quickly, remains relevant and enhances conversions.

 

 

Clear and consistent UI

We knew from the get go that there would be many internal touch points and content mangers given TasTAFE is such a broadly scoped institution. We wanted to ensure that if Betty in the Burnie call centre made a change it would display the same as if Sue in Hobart marketing made an update.

To this end we focussed strictly on a clean, refined and bold user interface (UI). We handle all the styling, layouts and visual in code via the CMS so that a user only needs to focus on content, not design.

A websites worst enemy is inconsistency. and we’ve managed to avoid this problem through careful planning and ongoing collaboration.

 You guessed it: Launch. Rinse. Repeat

4 months in the and site looks as good as launch day. And it works. But don’t just take our word for it: we continue to check back in with the users by monitoring the stats, talking to Betty and Sue, and making sure that this educational site does its job.

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