University of Canberra’s Digital Student Journey
The University of Canberra (UC) is a university for the professions, providing immersive student experiences and tangible employment outcomes on top of theoretical learning. It is ranked in the world’s top 20 young universities. It has been recognised as the fastest-rising university in Australia and one of the fastest in the world.
In 2018, the university realised its existing website was outdated and not fit for purpose. It had become a confusing, inconsistent mess of faculty-centric content instead of clear, helpful information for prospective and current students, graduates and alumni.
UC set out to completely overhaul the site and create its ‘Digital Student Journey’ (DSJ) – a unified experience for any past, present or future student of the university – with the aim of increasing student enrolment, engagement, retention and loyalty.
The new website would represent the entire digital journey taken by a student – representing the first touchpoint for a prospective student considering studying at UC, the source of truth for every piece of information needed by a current student, and a networking hub for graduates and alumni.
In November 2018, Catch the Sun was hired to work onsite with University of Canberra’s Digital Student Journey team to curate, content design and copywrite Phase One of the DSJ – the ‘current student portal’ – from scratch. The objective was to create an engaging space existing students could visit to access all their important student information – from details about applying for their subjects each semester, to booking appointments with the campus doctor, and specifics about campus parking. Named ‘MyUC’, the new website would be accessed by students using their student ID number to log in.
Under Catch the Sun’s guidance, new content was created for MyUC that:
- was student-first
- was user-centric
- was written using plain English
- was written in an active voice
- included a clear and simple call-to-action for each section
- followed the UC Writing Style Guide
- followed UC’s writing tone of voice.
Creating the website using the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) platform, we were able to serve highly relevant personalised content to individual student audience groups such as international, postgraduate, Indigenous and elite athlete students. AEM’s content fragments allowed us to use similar content across multiple areas of the site, hosted in a single place. This meant that future content amends would only need to be updated once, in one area of the CMS, while ensuring the website wouldn’t be penalised by Google’s ‘duplicated content’ policy.
University of Canberra’s Digital Student Journey is a clear, simple and easy-to-navigate web portal celebrated by faculty, business units, students and staff alike. In fact, Phase One was such a success that the university engaged Catch the Sun for Phase Two of the DSJ project in February 2020 – designing, curating and writing content for the university’s public-facing website to attract future UC students.
By September 2020, six Catch the Sun freelancers were working on site and remotely to complete the copywriting, editing and proofreading for the website in the lead-up to the project’s Phase Two launch in March 2021.
The team at Catch the Sun Communications are content geniuses.”
Nadean Mamic, Associate Director, Project and Innovation, University of Canberra