National

Case Study: U of M Stops the Presses to Take it Online

Manitoba’s first Certified B Corporation, Manoverboard is a purpose-driven design firm whose mission is to “help businesses and organizations create a better world by design.”

Design challenge

The University of Manitoba’s 70-year-old weekly newspaper, The Bulletin, was a widely read and distributed source of important information on the university’s research, activities, events and more. But keeping its students, staff, faculty and others well-informed was becoming increasingly costly, and with shorter news cycles, the paper was out of date before printing. As an added concern, the university also sought to continue making its communications and marketing activities more sustainable. So, a new strategy led by Winnipeg-based design firm Manoverboard would address a variety of challenges.

Most university staff and faculty, according to a poll, preferred an online campus news source to a printed version. This finding was aligned with the university’s own desire to keep its broad audiences more easily up to date. The solution developed by Manoverboard in collaboration with the university’s marketing and communications office is both smart and sustainable.

Strategy & Solutions

Manitoba’s first Certified B Corporation, Manoverboard is a purpose-driven design firm whose mission is to “help businesses and organizations create a better world by design.” They were careful in developing a strategy and a system that would create a scalable website capable of accommodating a large variety of current and future content types, and which would last for several years — a sustainable solution for the long term. Naturally, the site is responsive, designed to be read across all devices, from smartphones to tablets to desktops. While accurately measuring carbon footprint reductions made in converting the publication from print to web can be difficult, Manoverboard is optimizing the website to reduce the data load downloaded and transmitted. This helps to reduce the energy needed by servers and devices, ideally reducing power consumption and the overall environmental impact of a heavily used website. While designing quick page-load times is considered good practice from a user experience perspective, reducing the website's energy consumption is equally important.

Results

Now known as UM Today, the news website has been very well received at the university and beyond, apparently used by many top administrators as their home screen. The news reaches more people, more quickly and with greater accuracy. For the university, the elimination of the printed weekly reduces their costs, materials and carbon footprint related to printing and distribution. 

We congratulate the University of Manitoba and Manoverboard on their success, and encourage our membership to consider B Corporation certification.

PDF Download Case Study: Manoverboard

Credits: Manoverboard

Strategy: Andrew Boardman, CGD; Daniel Lamb
Project Management: Andrew Boardman, CGD; Dean Van De Walle, CGD; Michael Marshall
Copywriting: Mariianne Mays Wiebe; Sean Moore
Art Direction: Andrew Boardman, CGD; Dean Van De Walle, CGD
Design: Andrew Boardman, CGD: Daniel Lamb
Production: Lee Martin
Programming: Daniel Lamb
 

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