BCcampus: Leading by example

Changes to BCcampus.ca expected to improve accessibility and usability

The agile approach of progress over perfection is a useful way to communicate the core message for any organization, but when you’re a collaborator in the local education system, it’s essential to evaluate how your audience is accessing your information as well as their ability to get the information they need quickly. When BCcampus recognized that their current website was not indicative of the level of service they provide the post-secondary institutions of B.C., they chose to take a systematic approach to create a better version.

Post by BCcampus’ editorial team

“The previous version of our website was a compilation of perspectives and ideas that did an acceptable job of communicating our core focus, but lacked consistency and clarity on essential components,” explained Mary Burgess, BCcampus Executive Director. “Our goal for the new version of the website is to better engage with our audience, so they can understand what we do and easily find what they need.”

Built on a WordPress platform, the BCcampus website has had multiple changes over the years, with pages created for new initiatives, updates, offerings, and support requests from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training. The resulting collection of content became a challenge to manage from an IT-perspective, with broken links, outdated information, and an overall lack of cohesion.

“Based on the questions we were getting from our users and internal feedback about our website, we recognized that it was a challenge to navigate and didn’t communicate our role effectively,” shared Denise Goudy, BCcampus Director. “Instead of making assumptions as to what our audience wanted, we brought in an information architect to examine which pages were being used, speak with our audience to identify what they need, and create a strategy we could use to build a better website.”

The content for the new website was written with specific user personas in mind, so each page could effectively communicate its crucial message to the appropriate user. Consistent adherence to a voice and tone style guide, based heavily on Canadian Press standards, keeps the content consistent, clear, and concise.

The revised version of the website is available at www.BCcampus.ca, and further user testing will be conducted in the fall of 2018 to ensure it is meeting the organization’s goals for accessibility and usability.