How to Build a Comprehensive Digital Platform for a Top Israeli University?


  • Education


  • Digital strategy
  • Architecture and modeling
  • Website development
  • Migration
  • DevOps


  • Drupal 8
  • React


  • Strong flexible digital experience foundation - Drupal 8
  • Components based UX architecture - Atomic design & Storybook
  • Enhanced conversion using commerce-like experience
  • Portable catalog web app

The challenge

Bar Ilan University (BIU) is a public research university and Israel’s second-largest academic institution. It serves 20,000 students and features nine faculties, including Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Jewish Studies, Medicine, Law, and more.

At the end of 2017, BIU decided to implement a complete rebrand, which included rebuilding its primary leads engine website from the ground up. The existing site featured thousands of pages of content, complicating the process even further as we had to preserve essential data and cull what was no longer needed. The envisioned result would be a comprehensive website that would attract potential students, provide detailed information and functionality, and encourage them to register, helping them increase enrolments in a highly secure, content-rich environment.

  • Conversion
    The website’s primary goal is to attract potential students and encourage registration. We needed to implement functionality and design that was user-friendly and easy to navigate.
  • Compliance
    Any university—especially a high-profile one like BIU—is an attractive target for malicious threat actors. We needed to build the website to prioritize data security and privacy.
  • Content Quantity and Quality
    BIUs legacy website contained tens of thousands of pages. We needed to ensure we captured the right information to migrate to the new architecture while eliminating redundancies.

The Solution

Our experience shows that, especially on large-scale projects, the customer’s ability to foresee the scope of a project’s requirements is limited. That being said, it was quite clear that as BIU’s digital transformation progressed, additional needs would arise.

The solution had to address both short and long-term goals.

Short-Term Goal
An innovative site that offers a modern user experience, providing a mappable customer journey for the university’s target audiences.

Long-Term Goal
A strong and flexible digital platform that provides a foundation to support future digital development and transformation.

Whereas the customer was mainly focused on the short-term goal, our responsibility was to ensure the long-term goal was addressed.

Drupal 8 was the best choice to help us achieve both objectives as it provides a strong foundation and extra flexibility in a high-compliance environment.

We decided on a UX architecture called Atomic Design. This decision, in conjunction with the Storybook Foundation, allowed us to expedite the creation of new templates. Today, the template structure has become so flexible that, in some cases, University personnel can handle new requirements for different structures without outside support.

The third substantial piece of the puzzle was the realization that the user journey can be built on specific commerce ideas and principles; thus, the catalog was born.

We built that piece using advanced JS foundations (react.js), allowing for a unique user experience that produced a lot of excitement from both within and outside the organization. This application is the heart of the conversion funnel and is critical to the university’s digital success.

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