A university website’s new user experience and information architecture fosters engagement and helps people find what they need quickly and easily
The University of Maryland Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) provides parking and transportation services to a community of more than 50,000 campus visitors, students, faculty, and staff. DOTS was experiencing an increase in call volume overhead and decided it was time to make the website a better self-service tool. The website was outdated, needed a new organizational structure, and was not mobile-responsive (thus not catering to its growing number of smartphone users).
Mindgrub started the process of streamlining information access through a series of discovery activities (i.e., stakeholder and user interviews, an analytics review, and a content audit) to define key use cases and opportunities for improvement. A series of scripted user testing and tree testing sessions were then conducted around critical functionality to confirm the new designs and architecture performed as planned.
We implemented several changes, such as:
- An alerts modal to immediately bring closures or transportation changes to the attention of users
- A news feed to alert users of changes well in advance
- A script on the back-end to help migrate complex bus schedule data from print to web
- Google Maps integration to visualize bus routes, eliminating their previous dependence on PDF maps
- Page redirects so the amount of direct traffic that pages receive would not result in errors
Relative to the previous site, we have seen the following improvements:
- Average time on page decreased by over 50%, but average session duration increased by 130%. This indicates that users are finding what they are looking for faster and are more engaged with the content they’re consuming.
- Bounce rate dropped by 20%. This is usually a good indicator of usability and better IA.
- Social traffic increased by 438%. Most of the shares were around news stories that affected transportation or maps.
- The proportion of organic search traffic increased by 10% over other forms of traffic.
“Our new website is exceptional. Working with Mindgrub using agile has been a great experience and I highly recommend this team to anyone looking to spruce up their digital products or services.”
~Cara Fleck Plewinski, Assistant Director for Marketing and Communications, UMD DOTS