Case study: UCT Thursdays Events and promotions

UCT Thursdays is a student driven initiative which seeks to promote weekly company events on the University of Cape Town campus. Key to this initiative was the creation of an online presence through an engaging attractive website.


My role: UX designer, graphic design and Web developer

Project timeline: 4  to 5 months

UCT Thursdays’ website objective were to 

– Understand what kinds of content students would value online
– Create an information architecture to help people find their content
– Provide a positive and attractive brand experience
– Build a online community and brand loyalty


What I did:

Design the online experience using user research, iterative user-centred design and evaluation
Since the project was a new concept and did not have employees we conducted contextual observation of several UCT Thursday events and students on campus. This led to identifying needs that could be addressed on the wesite.

Main Key findings revealed
– Students could not afford to regularly attend the free events due to lecture timetables. The website could provide a review of the event through articles, pictures and videos of the event.


– Large number of students use Facebook and Twitter social networking sites. Integration with these sites could contribute to an online community.

We did rapid iterative research and conducted workshops with stakeholders which covered several issues:
– Value proposition. What made the events desirable and how to communicate that online.
– Participatory design. Users gave suggestions how they would design aspects of the interface.
– I also drew up Personas of typical students on campus.
– Prototyping. Simple drafts of screens and the looks-and-feel were created and evaluated by end-users over several weeks

To see the PDF prototype of the site uctthursdaysPrototype.

Built on top of the Joomla open source content management, we carefully created an architecture that uses up less space despite weekly update of video and pictures. Plugins were to stream content from media channels from Facebook, Youtube, Google videos and Movieflix which were relevant to students.

Built a site that

– Engages students with video, pictures and written media
– Enhances brand presence through social networking channels integration
– Allows users to keep track with updated content on the site

Results

Good traffic on the website, high Pageranking, over 2000 Likes on Facebook and 50 followers on Twitter.

Website: http://www.uctthursdays.co.za

Lessons learnt:

Constant tweaking needed to find the right content users enjoy reading. Content is King. Google Analytics was very useful in this regard. There is so much that UX can do upfront but complimented with analytics, a more holistic view can be obtained.  Backed up with statistics, informed web strategies can be made.

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