Vancouver School Board Website

The Vancouver School Board (VSB) needed a fresh website solution to better connect staff, students and parents within their district. They not only required an intuitive user experience, but a strategy centred around a powerful back-end engine to deliver content across their family of websites.

Background

Utilizing SchoolBundle's Single-Source publishing solution, a unified communication approach was developed and implementation across the Vancouver School Board's 112 school websites is nearing completion. Better websites and streamlined information have increased communication and collaboration across the school district since launch.

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Design Process

Strategy

With our experience in the education industry—we dove in and quickly got up to speed with the Vancouver School Board's values and pain points. Our role as a strategic partner began with big decisions that go beyond marketing. A plan was put in place to clearly outline goals for the new website solution. Through a series of consultations, several milestones were defined giving everyone a clear path to follow throughout a multifaceted project involving many moving parts.

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

Thousands of pages composed of events, news, staff, student and parent information required re-working the sitemap and information architecture. Using data gathered from marketing research, working together with VSB and passing on our experience, we consolidated pages when necessary. In turn, this made for cleaner navigation and content organization for site visitors.

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DESIGN

Before contacting SchoolBundle, the VSB in-house design team had recently re-branded. Everything was new—brand guidelines, messaging and voice. It was our job to pick up the energetic, upbeat new brand and elevate it for digital. We were careful to pay close attention to the details, subtly communicating the values of Vancouver's diverse geography and heritage.

In terms of design for the website, we worked through a series of exercises with the client to get everyone on the same page. As we progressed from sketches to wireframes a visual style started to emerge. Our design team also worked with the district to build an experience that allows site visitors to intuitively navigate each school website. Conversations during design reviews informed our decisions going forward, translating into a universal design across the new digital solution.

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Results

Working with the Vancouver School Board has been a fulfilling experience. After a few creative exercises and hours pouring over our strategy—the result is a scalable, flexible website with a progressive design. The VSB team really understands its audience. From the start of the project, we've felt welcomed and collaborated as a single team. For a school board like VSB to bring us in as a partner was rewarding.

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We were able to bring the full weight of our expertise to the table and they pushed us to do some of our best work. The website's success is a direct testament to our working relationship. With a refined, collaborative process in place, we're excited to continue to optimize and evolve their online unified communication solution.

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Project Notes

  • VSB is among the most diverse public school systems in Canada with an annual enrolment of approximately 54,000 students in Kindergarten to grade 12

  • Board Site Launched: July 2018

  • School and Affiliate Sites Launched: September 2018

  • My responsibilities were creative lead for the design phase of the project leading into development

  • I was also involved with customer-training

  • Featured RGD Case Study for April 2019