The university is upgrading its homepage. But we’re not just going to flip a switch and replace our current homepage with a new one you’ve never seen. Over the last little while we’ve been designing in public in a cross-campus team in an attempt to reduce the disruption that can occur as a result of redesigning anything.
We went through an “alpha” design process this summer where we tested our ideas by watching real people use our designs. And if you visited usask.ca during that time or followed @usask on Twitter you might have noticed a link to alpha.usask.ca where you could try out the designs and provide feedback, too.
The alpha.usask.ca design changed significantly each week as we sprinted through iterations in an attempt to improve. It was fun, we learned a lot, and we ended up with a design we were ready to take to the next level.
That next level is beta.usask.ca. The purpose of beta.usask.ca is to get you familiar with the new design without disrupting your normal routine. And of course we also want to keep improving the design based on your feedback. We’ll be foregoing the experimentation from the alpha sprints in favour of longer exposure and careful refinement to create something stable and familiar.
beta.usask.ca will exist for a number of weeks, through the holidays and into the new year. It will eventually replace the homepage at www.usask.ca, but not until we’re confident that the change will be positive and as non-disruptive as possible. So give beta.usask.ca a try and send in some feedback while you're there. We need your help to make it the best it can be.
We’ll once again sharing our feedback data publicly at web.usask.ca/data. There you will be able to monitor the beta.usask.ca user experience in real time and read the feedback yourself.
We’re also sharing as much as possible through this blog at web.usask.ca/design. Here are some posts to get you started if you want to learn more:
- Upgrading the usask.ca homepage
The background of what this project is
- The terrifying idea of designing in public
A look at what “designing in public” means, including a description of the project phases (alpha, beta, live)
- How the homepage is used
A look at the analytics data of our current homepage
- The evolution of alpha.usask.ca
How alpha.usask.ca changed based on user feedback for each iteration