Alberta Education supports students, parents, teachers, and administrators from early childhood through to grade twelve. They serve as a hub of information and their websites serve millions of people in providing accurate, helpful, and vital information worldwide.
They are responsible for teacher development and certification, developing curriculum and setting standards, evaluating and assessing outcomes, supporting special needs students, funding and supporting school boards, and overseeing basic education policies and regulations.
We were excited to be part of a large redevelopment of the Alberta Education website, named the Website Revitalization Program. When we were approached by Alberta Education, they were starting the process of evaluating the compilation of multiple smaller websites into one large, cohesive site. With this project, we were given the task to discover and understand how each website was performing, in order to provide useful data and insight for decisions on the new website.
We wanted to answer the central question Alberta Education had which was,“How do we serve people better?”
We created a detailed plan which started with data collection using Google Analytics and our internal expertise to conduct an audit. We utilized the analytics API to efficiently and accurately compile data across each piece of content on every site. The intent being to discover the key pieces of content on each site and low performing pages. We then setup eight custom audience segments to explore the user activity by visitor type (ex. school boards) and provided recommendations and solutions based on our findings.
It was important to find the key areas of engagement and uncover trends / opportunities to improve user experience.
For example, we found that a quarter of traffic to the main site was coming from outside Alberta and had very unique behaviours and content needs.
How Did We Do It?
Our main goal with this project was to uncover how each individual website was performing. To complete this task we primarily used historical Google Analytics data. Using this, along with our internal expertise, we were able to successfully discover who was visiting, user behaviour, where they came from, and technology being used.
In order for the new Alberta Education website to better serve its diverse user groups, it was important to ensure that we used analytics to find out who was visiting the sites. For example, our team identified audience segments for government staff, general public, school boards, and even specific language users, to name a few.
Within each of the eight audience segments, we also needed to know how users were using the sites and find what inbound traffic sources were currently most effective. Our analytics experts did an in-depth analysis of how each audience used the websites, identifying high usage content, seasonal spikes, and even site errors. Lastly, each audience was analyzed in regard to what technology was used to access the sites, such as mobile vs desktop or specific browser versions.
We applied our knowledge with Google Analytics to help understand the current user behaviour of each unique audience, which in the end, translated into six professional reports based on hard data as input into the new website.
page reports for user insights across six core Alberta Education websites.
data tables and 7 charts auto-generated per site from analytics API.
custom segments created to identify unique insights by audience.
We were able to successfully identify key recommendations from each site and offer input for the new combined website based on our findings. Understanding the differences in behaviour of unique audience segments was vital. We uncovered what worked and what didn’t by breaking down each audience type, which was a huge part in helping discover new opportunities to better serve each group of users; allowing the new website to organize information effectively.
Our team was able to compile information to help answer “How do we serve people better?” which will ultimately help improve Alberta Education’s online user experience.
Lastly, an unexpected impact was the many recommendations our team provided Alberta Education on how analytics could be better configured across their web properties. This included both short-term fixes for the old site and long-term recommendations for the newly developed site. Our recommendations for modernizing the setup, standardizing configuration and developing consistent KPIs can have a long-lasting impact on Alberta Education reporting.
The Long Game
We were excited to be given the opportunity to work with Alberta Education. We were able to identify key areas of improvement and have an impact on the redevelopment of the Alberta Education website. We’re proud to have contributed to Alberta Education’s online presence and continue to enjoy working with multiple clients in the Education market.