Notice Board

Revitalized Notice Board to launch July 28


The University’s new Notice Board represents the culmination of months of hard work by the Web team, along with hours of user input and testing. Michael Warf, ITS Web Manager, says the team is excited to be launching the revitalized site. It has a number of useful and innovative tools that will make finding information easier and visually appealing, he adds.

“The current Notice Board is written in an old programming language and we no longer have the resources to support it. In technology terms, it’s a dinosaur. Last year the team was commissioned by University Advancement to produce a more modern tool.”new-notice-board

The team first reviewed the usage analytics on the old Notice Board which generate a visual representation of the mouse clicks on the site. “It revealed that it was used primarily as a bookmarking tool,” says Warf. “People clicked on buttons and icons to get to other pages like The Bridge, the online directory, employment opportunities and items that appeared on the image carousel. There were no deep dives into much of the content.” However, the team did discover that the site is the fifth-most-visited property on the University’s website, averaging approximately 1,500 visitors per day.

The next step was User Experience (UX) testing with a wide representation of faculty, staff and students. “We developed sketches which allowed us to get feedback and make quick and low-cost revisions with relative ease. That worked really well,” says Warf.

Among the elements in the prototype are the ability to filter content through keyword searches for date, subject and location. The UX results were not surprising to the Web team. “People really liked the ability to filter and search, the layout of the site, the ability to edit and manage posts, and that the content is all on one page. We also confirmed our suspicion that students had either not heard of the Notice Board, or had no use for it.”

Information sessions were conducted in June, and training workshops are scheduled for July 10 in University Hall, room E640. The workshops are limited to one hour at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 2 p.m. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend for a more hands-on approach and will be prepared to enter notices in the new Notice Board after launch. Those who are unable to attend can contact to set up departmental training workshops.

Participants are encouraged to RSVP via survey ( for the workshops to ensure availability of computers.

The launch date of the new and improved version is scheduled for July 28, 2014.

UX – a better Web experience

UX Atrium picDeveloping traditional websites involves multiple stages from design to development. Often this process leads to an end product that is built more for a technical audience than for its end users. Recognizing the gap in the traditional process, the web team at the University of Lethbridge has adopted user experience methods to move from a functional build, to making them a more pleasant experience.

UX, an acronym for User Experience, is a practice that uses research to understand user needs, and to align those needs to current products and services. “It has more to do with an improved online experience for students, faculty and staff,” says Michael Warf, Web Manager.

The Web team recently employed UX to determine how students, faculty and staff use the Notice Board. “We know that people are having trouble finding things because, to the eye, it’s a very busy site with competing information and visuals. It’s been a dumping ground of unorganized information. In order to understand how people use it, we set up monitors in the U Hall Atrium and invited passers-by to search for specific things on the Notice Board. This provided us with a fairly clear realization around how they went about using that site. This information will help us build something that will align to both the information the University needs to share, and the ability for users to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily,” Warf says.

UX continues to be used to assist in the design of the University’s student portal. With the ultimate goal of satisfying the needs of both the University and the students, the questions are many and complex. “For example, we know that more students have smart phones than laptops, and that they access their calendars on their phones. Yet, what they can see on their phones was built for desktop and laptop computers. That poses a problem with providing them information in a format they can use.

“Continuing to collaborate with end users in the early design stages of a website helps us to better define the required features and functions that provide a balance between the needs of the University and providing a website that is enjoyable and easy to use.”

Watch for future UX events on campus so you can get involved and help us make your user experience better!