LIBR 596: UBC – Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Students interested in this project should complete the online application form here, please cite the project number 2017-06. Please include a resume and cover letter.

Purpose of the project:

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) is responsible for the recruitment, admission, support, and graduation of approximately 10,000 graduate students who attend UBC annually. In 2016, recorded 1.4 million users and more than 7 million pageviews. 25% of these sessions originate from mobile devices. Currently, our site architecture, organization, and user experience are under review.

The project involves:
– Review organization and structure of content (information architecture)
– Review navigation, categorization and labeling of the site elements
– Analyze and research user audiences and their needs, interests and behaviors and create user personas
– Make suggestions on how to improve the utility, ease of use and efficiency of the G+PS website, focusing on mobile users
– Incorporate insights from interaction and experience design to suggest possibilities to increase user engagement
– Implement suggestions that relate to individual content pieces and layouts
– Evaluate possibility to create content clusters for search engine optimization

Summary of activities required to carry out the project:

1) Research best practices
2) Conduct competitive analysis
3) User analysis and research: conduct focus groups/user interviews, usability tests, user flow diagrams, card sorting or other activities as needed, and develop user personas
4) Review the existing navigation and hierarchy, and create a new, comprehensive site map incorporating the best practices and suggestions from the above research
5) Prototyping and testing of new navigation options, categorization and labels
6) Interaction models and flows

Expectations of the end result of the project, for both host and student:

Host will receive:
A set of complete user personas, which will help guide content development going forward
Actionable insights for
– Site navigation
– Search engine optimization
– Mobile optimization

Student will:
– Gain valuable experience in optimizing a large website, including understanding audiences and how to address their needs. The student will gain particular insight in graduate school websites, including the needs of prospective and current students, faculty, staff, donors and media.
– Gain skills in using tools to analyze users and create personas.
– Apply various techniques to engage with user groups to learn about the needs and mental models when visiting a graduate school website.
– (If time/skill allows) create content updates and gain web writing and optimization skills

Time periods in which the project could be supervised (check all that apply):

  • Winter Term 2 (January – April)
  • Summer Session, Term 1 (May – June)
  • Summer Session, Term 2 (July – August)

Is there a deadline by which the project must be completed?

The project needs to be completed by the end of August 2018 at the latest, although earlier is preferred.

Considering the project requirements, please suggest suitable coursework as pre-requisite or co-requisite: (e.g. LIBR 580 Collection Management, ARST 515 Arrangement & Description of Archival Materials.)

The student should have completed all core courses and LIBR 555. Completion of LIBR 553 is desired. Examples of previous website work in this area are required.


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