A Social Campaign Portal

My team was asked by our Marketing Communications department to build the destination web site for a major 2009 student recruitment campaign. It would ask prospects “What would you change?” and show how BCIT would help them change.

What I did:

  • requirements & user flow
  • contractor management
  • project & testing lead

Analysis & Research

The overall What would you change? (WWYC) campaign would include guerilla events, bus shelters, in‐transit, broadcast and ‘night casting’ in public spaces, all designed to drive people to the site we were building. The site would allow people to share ideas, update and change other peoples’ ideas, vote, comment and generally engage with each other around the concept of change.

Our timeline was a very tight six weeks, and we decided to bring in contractors to do a Drupal web site (as our infrastructure at the time didn’t have the flexibility to meet the project goals) and build a Flash application, the centrepiece of the change component. I wrote a fairly comprehensive requirements brief with a companion user flow (below). After that point, my efforts were all project management, keeping two contractors and our team on track to hit a launch date that had zero wiggle room for slippage. All other campaign components were dropping and the site had to be ready.

Scope

Site visitors would be able to commment and vote on any content type below, while creation would require account creation and providing the basic demographic data for marketing purposes.

  • Show Us – visitor-created (on site) Flash animations, which could then be updated and changed by subsequent visitors.
  • Tell Us Video – BCIT staff-recorded clips of students at various campaign events, speaker’s corner style, talking about something they would change.
  • Tell Us Text – visitor-submitted (on site) tweet-like snippets, talking about change in 140 characters.
  • See Us Video – BCIT staff-recorded clips of students at work in various programs.

Design

Application map & user flow
“Show Us, Tell Us, See Us.”

Other than producing the high-level user flow above to accompany the requirements, all other design collateral was produced by the contractors. I did, however, oversee the production of simple ads for other BCIT web properties, such as the image to the right.

Below, you can see two key comps from the project ~ the landing page with core campaign calls-to-action and the centrepiece of the campaign site, a Flash app that allowed users to continually layer change over each other’s uploads.

Iteration, testing & feedback

While we iterated with development and beta versions throughout our project lifecycle, our testing cycles were very rapid and really comprised only the last couple days prior to launch. As the campaign was being kept under tight wraps, I had to confine test participants to staff.
Mobile wasn’t a major concern yet, and frankly the Flash application wouldn’t have worked anyway, so testing was entirely desktop-based.

  • Issues between Drupal and the Flash application were constantly being discovered and fixed.
  • Back in 2009, browser/OS combinations were also major issues.
  • With our timeframe, it was about making the concept work as well as possible for the widest range of user contexts.

Outcome

The final homepage was a felt pen and masking tape sketch concept, as the entire idea was about change. The homepage featured all four major content types, with “Show Us, Tell Us, See Us” the clear calls-to-action. The Flash submissions were then featured below the calls-to-action, most recent first, with one widget featuring the Tell Us Texts.
While we did encounter some technical issues, the Flash application actually worked quite well. Users could visit and vote on submissions easily, and adding your change to a previous submission worked surprisingly well.

We even won a 2009 UCDA award (website category).

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