Rearchitecting Berklee.edu to support a College-wide intranet

Berklee College of Music, an internationally renowned music school, was moving into a second phase of its site redesign. As part of this project, I worked with the College's web team to help rearchitect several areas of the website to support an intranet, messaging framework, and staff/student directory behind a protected area of the website.

The details

Over a period of eight months, I worked with the college to identify and organize content, envision and prototype new functionality, and keep the team moving forward quickly. The result was a widely-applauded new experience for the campus community, and the growth of a closely-knit team committed to improving Berklee.edu. As part of the project, I:

  • Participated in meetings across campus to uncover content needs, talk through requirements, and socialize a highly political project.
  • Worked with lead architect to update information architecture for Berklee.edu, which included cataloging and reorganizing thousands of pages and files, representing the content of 98 departments.
  • Created training materials and taught workshops for content creators on adding content to Drupal.
  • Helped build the team, including referring a lead developer and a project manager.
  • Worked with team to overhaul several key areas of the site, including: College-wide announcements dashboard and topic subscription mechanism; Department sub-sites; The College registration manual; and the Faculty/Staff Directory.

Highlights

Sketches for Dashboard

I often start a project by sketching different options. These sketches eventually became the user subscription/preference area and dashboard.

College Dashboard

The College needed an easy way to inform people of happenings around campus. I worked with the team to create a comprehensive dashboard, and a content model for Announcements that would allow the dashboard to be customized by user type and preference.

Updated Department IA

Part of rearchitecting the site was figuring out how to move content from other legacy systems into Drupal. This required both mapping existing content in the legacy systems, and understanding the underlying Drupal content structure to adjust for the new information. As such, much of the early days of this project involved creating content models and prototypes for how we could rearchitect Departments within the College, which were originally built as a single page.

Department live area

Part of successful information architecture was understanding which information came into the system automatically, and which would require manual entry. There was also the issue of making certain content private, but making it clear that there was more "under the hood." Working with the Lead Architect, we were able to create automatic listings for courses, faculty/staff and syllabi within each department's section of the site, requiring less manual input from content authors.

Registration Manual

Similarly, knowing that course information was automatically feeding into Drupal gave us the ability to architect an online registration manual that could update as new courses were published, saving weeks of publishing time for the Registrar's office.
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