Advancing the welfare of engineering and applied science technicians and technologists
The Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) comprises more than 21,000 members and operates as a non-profit, self-governing professional association.
Dedicated to advancing the welfare of engineering and applied science technicians and technologists, OACETT actively advocates for their interests across various sectors, including industry, educational institutions, the public, and government. It was officially established through incorporation in 1962.
Students reviewing engineering project
At the time we started working on this project, the OACETT website was already 10 years old and was built with an older unsupported version of Kentico. The website’s design was outdated, not fully optimized for mobile devices and was becoming increasingly difficult to manage. The website’s users frequently complained about overly complicated sign on process to the careers portal and confusing information architecture, making it difficult to find what you are looking for on the site.
Project Goals & Objectives
OACETT came to us with the challenge of designing and developing a new OACETT website that included a modern design, reworked information architecture, a complete overhaul of the career's portal built on the latest version of Kentico.
- Overhaul the information architecture of the site
- Revitalize the OACETT brand with a fresh design
- Upgrade to the latest version of Kentico and simplify content administration
- Complete redesign and rebuild of Careers Portal (CTEN)
Information Architecture: In this project, a key focus was on Information Architecture, which involved comprehending and reorganizing the content. This process was crucial as the underlying structure of all the content not only dictated the logic of different widgets but also influenced how we structured the entire website from a content administration standpoint.
In our approach, we followed our six-step methodology, placing particular emphasis on the pre-design phase, where we invested additional time in a comprehensive analysis of site content, leveraging data from analytics and conducting persona research. We gained valuable insights from this process that set the foundation for a well-informed design that establishes better user journeys with user-centric navigation.
In the design phase the objective was clear: modernize the layout of the site’s design while supporting user and association goals.
Modernizing the layout:
One of the key aspects of the successful modernization of the website’s design was to make the menu system easier to navigate. The old site had a narrow container that relied on multiple levels of navigation from within the mega menu. For the new site we expanded the container to give more space the menu and reduced the levels of the menu system on the main menu to just one level and allowed the side navigation to take care of 3rd and 4th level items.
Another key element we adjusted on the design was to remove the OACETT title below the logo and simply use the symbol. This reduced the height of the navigation bar and allowed us more flexibility with the layout design. These changes allowed us to work with a full canvas when designing and led to a more visually appealing website that also scaled down perfectly to mobile devices.
Supporting User and Association Goals:
The old website did not effectively generate leads for prospective members, indicating a need to nurture that user flow. The results from the persona research confirmed there was confusion as to how to access information that was specific to them. Armed with the user experience research that informed the information architecture we established a simpler navigation system that highlighted user specific journeys that also served the goals of the association. The content had a lot of similar but different verbiage and interlinking content, so it was necessary to design a customer journey that branched off visually at the right points in time. This was accomplished with widgets on key pages
Kentico Upgrade and Content Admin:
At the time that we started the project OACETT were using an outdated and unsupported version of Kentico that was built on outdated technology. A major part of this project was to upgrade the CMS by building on a new instance of Kentico Xperience that uses the latest technology.
With the latest version of Kentico we were able to leverage new technology and build a highly intuitive and easy content editing experience with widgets that utilize the Kentico page builder. We simplified the templates that the team was accustomed to using, transforming them into highly functional modular widgets. This allowed them to effortlessly adjust their pages visually, eliminating the need to sift through templates and irrelevant or outdated form controls.
Careers: Complete redesign and rebuild of Careers Portal (CTEN)
The OACETT career portal is known as CTEN (Canadian Technologists Employment Network). The purpose of the portal is to allow job seekers to find technical professional roles, and to allow employers to find ideal candidates to fill their vacant positions. The portal offers a variety of features, including detailed profiles, comprehensive search capabilities, and e-commerce functionality for paid job posts.
At the time we started the project, OACETT’s careers section linked off to a separate CTEN landing page that was branded differently than the website. The experience was then further confused with a third design for the career portal pages. Persona research confirmed the fragmented login and design of these pages were a major pain point for users.
We successfully integrated the portal into to the website by using the same instance of Kentico and used the OACETT brand for the portal page design.
To simplify the login, we used Single-Sign-On (SSO) with OACETT’s Dynamics CRM to authenticate users to the career portal pages. For non-OACETT users we built a custom application to allow OACETT administrators to upload a list of non-OACETT members to be authenticated with.
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The OACETT website project was a massive success by consolidating the custom careers portal into the main website while leveraging Kentico's ecommerce components for a seemless user experience.