University of Chicago Graham School

Making continued education for nontraditional students accessible and engaging with Drupal 8

The Graham School is the University of Chicago’s continuing education program for skill seekers, career changers, and lifelong learners. It offers an array of curriculum and certifications for nontraditional students looking to change the course of their career path, or those who simply want to learn for learning’s sake.

Challenge

The school serves a diverse group of students, so the University of Chicago needed a site that was both attractive and navigable for their varied needs. It couldn’t just be a pretty site, though - it needed to tell a story that encourages lifelong learning.

Solutions

ThinkShout designed intuitive, consistent interfaces that prioritize the most important student tasks. Improved structures, related content, and clear calls to action are now the rule, not the exception.

Results

Increased online registration and improved user experience for students of all backgrounds and needs.

For years, UChicago’s Graham School suffered from a site architecture that made it difficult for staff to update content as their needs changed and course offerings expanded. A messy admin interface and excess content types further cluttered the content creation experience. The University of Chicago needed to simplify this process while also improving the user experience by making the site easier for students to navigate and search for content.

University of Chicago Graham School Home page on mobile and laptop screens

University of Chicago’s Graham School now puts the most important content front and center. Current and prospective students can browse and register for courses via Destiny One, a lifecycle management tool designed specifically for institutions like the Graham School that serve nontraditional students.

Since content management was a major pain point for the University of Chicago team, we also developed a solution that combined Google Sheets and Drupal Migrate to populate content on their site. Our engineers then trained the University of Chicago web team to use this system, which was uniquely tailored to their needs. (See Engineering Manager Maria Fisher’s process in this two-part blog series.)

Mobile view of program screens

We simplified the design and user experience even beyond the critical registration workflows, restructuring program pages to be more self-contained and unique. We built out related content blocks on these pages so relevant blogs and events populate based on the page the user is currently browsing. Additionally, we created sticky call to action blocks that appear for first-time visitors to encourage relationship-building.

Laptop view of a data analytics course

The updated site has performed where it matters most for the University and students alike: increased interest in online enrollment. Additionally, the design and content strategy has been so successful that other Colleges across the University system are beginning to adopt everything from the Graham School’s approach to it very content structures.

Launch Site