School of Materials Science and Engineering UNSW

Drupal

The School of Materials Science and Engineering at UNSW is an internationally renowned educator and researcher with over 60 years of experience. The School was ranked  No. 1 in Australia and 17th in the world in the 2014 QS World Rankings. Extensive industry links give the students of UNSW Materials the opportunity to develop valuable relationships with Australia's materials engineering enterprises.

Challenge: 

The website of a University school has a variety of different audiences to cater to; currently studying students, prospective students, staff, industry and the media. Maintaining a website in the face of such a diverse audience can be time consuming and difficult, indeed such a task is daunting when you are catering to only one language. As The School of Materials Science and Engineering has a strong international student base, multilingual capabilities were identified as an important step towards a better online presence. The school wanted to move to a system that could grow with them as their needs evolved, starting with supporting Chinese and allowing them to add new language support as they needed,

The website software used by the school was no longer able to support their growing needs and as a result, the website was demanding more staff time than the school was able to give. Content was being produced at a lower rate while the time spent on the website was increasing. It was time for a technology shift.

Solution: 

During the design process we focused on automating tasks that took up staff time, and with the help of the staff that maintain the website we identified plenty of improvements to the content creation process.

The school's multilingual requirements and large amount of specialised contect creators made Drupal an appealing platform to build the new website on. The success of Drupal in other areas of the University was a testament to the power and flexibility that it could offer to this project.

Result: 

The new interface offered to content creators has allowed a broader range of contributors that are spending less time on content creation. This has been especially important in attracting translation talent by allowing them to focus on what they're good at, not learning a new tool.

The project was a good learning experience for both us and the school, we both came to understand the type of workflows a multilingual site requires in their environment. The school was quick to pick up on the technical side of Drupal too, taking ownership almost immediately and making changes to better suit their faculty's workflow.