When news dropped that Ellucian would sunset the legacy Luminis portal, John Day, Director of Student Services at University of Northwestern – St. Paul (UNW), felt serious urgency to find an upgrade. And at the top of the feature list was to find an enterprise solution offering completely synchronized web-mobile parity.
During feedback sessions students were consistent in their desire for a modern, mobile app with full feature parity with the portal’s web version.
“The portal we had was not meeting the target,” Day said. “Our students said they wanted a mobile-first experience because we lacked a mobile app and what they experienced on desktop was not cutting it.”
About University of Northwestern – St. Paul
University of Northwestern is a Christian university located in the heart of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. Since 1902, students come to Northwestern to learn and develop as leaders through academically excellent, Christian education.
The Quest to End the Treasure Hunt
One of the critical pieces UNW sought in a new solution included an improved search experience. Luminis hampered students’ interaction with the portal by offering results that misaligned with simple search inputs. To compensate, UNW staff developed intricate breadcrumb trails to guide students through convoluted navigation.
“It got to the point where search was completely useless,” Day said. “Nobody used it as we passed students to different places on our portal.”
And the Winner is!
Day and his team engaged in an exhaustive evaluation process — with the vendor list including Modo Labs, CampusM, OneCampus and Pathify. Although each offered a mobile application, Pathify proved the only solution delivering true web-mobile parity combined with a hyper-personalized, modern interface out-of-the-box.
“Pathify looked at what our unique needs were and delivered us a solution while other vendors gave us something out of the box and expected us to develop on our own,” Day said.
As a faith-based institution, UNW possesses unique student requirements, including mandatory chapel attendance credits. The team sought a way to display a progress bar for chapel credit completion, but all the other vendors rejected his request.
“When we talked to other companies, it sounded more of like a hassle,” Day said.
Where other vendors said no, Pathify collaborated. During implementation, UNW created the widget for chapel credit completion in a given semester using Pathify’s middleware, Flow. The implementation team’s willingness to innovate gave Day confidence Pathify would deliver an outstanding student experience.
“Everything I’ve experienced with Pathify felt more like a partnership,” Day said. “The responses to our IT tickets are always so understanding and friendly. There’s just a good sense of camaraderie not normal in the software space.”
UNW plans a Phase 2 launch with Communities in Spring 2024 to amplify student engagement.