Bond University | Enhancing the Virtual Open Day experience with a sophisticated microsite
Bond University is Australia’s first not-for-profit, private university located in Robina, Queensland. Virtual Open Day is a digital open day experience hosted by Bond University and took place for the first time in 2020.
Bond University engaged Digital8 to redesign the Virtual Open Day microsite to encourage student engagement with a more sophisticated and user-friendly digital environment. The microsite was required to handle a number of integrations including a live chat and streaming service that adhered to Bond University’s style guide.
Offering quick turnaround times, real-time support and a variety of feature integrations, Digital8 targeted a young demographic for Bond University’s Virtual Open Day with a microsite built using React and expert UX/UI design.
In 2020, Bond University hosted the first Virtual Open Day, a live broadcast open day that was streamed on a standard landing page. The overall production quality was high and the unique content and format created a strong differentiator in the market.
The event attracted 22,009 unique viewers across Bond University’s various platforms. Additionally, the Office for Students ran 20 individual Q&A sessions following each segment with 515 people engaging in these sessions.
For the 2021 Virtual Open Day, Bond University engaged Digital8 to redesign an enhanced digital ecosystem to provide a more sophisticated user-friendly experience for those who tune in to the stream. Digital8 was also re-engaged to use the same original microsite with minor updates again in 2022 with plans to continue using the site in future years as well.
As the Open Day broadcast itself was so well polished and refined, Bond University wanted the new microsite to reflect this level of sophistication.
Understanding the Business Objectives
The goal of Bond University’s Virtual Open Day was to inform prospective students of everything the university has to offer through a virtual platform. Open Day is a chance for students to learn more about the staff, campus and their future peers. Since student enrolments are imperative to the overall success of Bond University, the microsite hosting their Virtual Open Day digital experience was required to meet certain objectives for the client.
Digital8 was required to build a microsite that was capable of streaming rich on-demand content. As Bond University significantly reduced the length of its broadcast compared to previous years, the main goal was to get users to engage for extended periods of time across desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
The on-demand content was to be segmented by chapters that were clearly laid out by study/interest area. Bond University wanted on-demand content to be seamless, easy to browse and easy to access with the ability to navigate to and away from the live content at any time.
The Virtual Open Day schedule needed to be clearly identified and dynamic showing what content was coming up next with a live chat function that allowed users to chat whilst remaining tuned into the broadcast.
Additionally, the live stream was required to include a picture in picture (PIP) feature that allowed the video to play on the screen of a device simultaneously with other picture/video/slide windows displayed.
It was also important that the microsite adhered to Bond University’s comprehensive style guide to reach the university student demographic. All links and thumbnails were to have animation on mouse hover as well.
The Virtual Open Day microsite was also required to stay live after the broadcast for users to consume the on-demand content or replay the live stream at their leisure.
Digital8 held a number of kick-off meetings for the Bond University Virtual Open Day microsite. The purpose of these meetings was to ascertain the best tech stack to complete the requirements and to scope the overall project.
Bond University required the microsite’s design to offer a user-friendly interface while adhering to its comprehensive style guide.
Bond University provided reference examples to other universities that created similar digital events and offered styling guidelines with regards to the younger demographic that they were aiming to target.
Digital8’s UI/UX design team provided two high-fidelity designs within one week for the client’s approval. Bond University chose the more vibrant option of the two which, interestingly, adhered less strictly to their style guide but which they felt better met the brief.
Due to the tight time frame of the project, Digital8’s design phase was minimised and once the feedback from Bond University was incorporated, the designs were passed onto the development team to begin the microsite build.
As Bond University did not want the overhead of administrating a CMS for a project with such a short lifespan, Digital8 built a custom solution without a CMS. In other words, this microsite did not require backend development and Digital8 was only required to build the front end.
There were a number of integrations built into the microsite including a live chat, streaming functionality, rich on-demand content and a dynamic schedule that was seamlessly coordinated with both the current broadcast and upcoming streams.
Once the web development phase was complete, the staging site was transitioned to an online website. Digital8 met the tight deadline presented by Bond University and the microsite was finalised two weeks prior to the Virtual Open Day event.
The final step in the deployment phase was to upload the on-demand content provided by the client and complete the final checks to ensure a bug-free digital environment.
Real-time support from Digital8 was provided on the day of the launch and throughout the duration of the event.
The Bond University Virtual Open Day microsite was a straightforward build using React as it did not require backend development.
The main challenge was to ensure the dynamic scheduling integration lined up with the correct content. The client required that the schedule be clearly identified and dynamic, showing which content was coming up next during the live broadcast. As this integration requires complex coding, it was the biggest challenge of this, otherwise, straightforward microsite.
Digital8 seamlessly integrated the challenging dynamic schedule capabilities with the assistance of our lead developer taking on some of the coordination.
Our team was able to clearly communicate between one another to make sure the client’s quickly approaching deadline was met and that all the scheduling functionality worked efficiently.
The first Virtual Open Day microsite that Digital8 built for Bond University launched on 24 July 2021. More recently, Bond University’s 2022 Virtual Open Day launched on 14 May 2022, updated by the Digital8 team.
During each two-hour event, Digital8 also provided real-time support to ensure any potential issues were resolved immediately.
Digital8 met Bond University’s business objectives by:
- Providing a sophisticated, user-friendly digital environment for its Virtual Open Day microsite using React
- Segmenting on-demand content and building dynamic scheduling functionality
- Integrating features including a live chat and PIP streaming
- Matching its comprehensive style guide to target the younger demographic
By meeting tight deadlines and providing expert digital solutions for Bond University, the Virtual Open Day microsite built by Digital8 was an undeniable success.
Now, Bond University continues to engage Digital8 to build a new microsite for every Virtual Open Day experience they host.
Let us help you reach your business goals through digital solutions and contact our expert team of developers, web designers and digital strategists at Digital8 today.