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Aptly Digitizing An Important Area of an Organization

  • La Ribambelle
  • 2019
  • Interactive Application
  • Education

La Ribambelle is a not-for-profit French immersion school based in Southwestern Ontario that was formed in 1987, employs over 80 staff, and operates in nine locations across Sarnia and London, Ontario, Canada.

Typically, English-speaking parents will enroll their young children into La Ribambelle to learn immersive French, one of Canada’s two official languages.

The Problem

La Ribambelle possessed two administrative problems for quite some time:

I) Registration

The historical process for parents registering their children was receiving PDF documents in which they’d print out, fill out, and return to the school (via email or in person). Easily said but not smooth in practice as these forms weren’t short and simple and would be easy for a user to accidentally omit certain information causing the registration process to be delayed. When items on the form were incomplete, La Ribambelle would then need to get in touch to finish the registration, all the while registration periods having fairly strict deadlines. Viz, PDF and a paper-based enrollment process had created a notable operational deficiency at La Ribambelle for quite some time.

II) Distributing Content

Throughout a year there is a voluminous amount of documentation, notices, etc. that La Ribambelle will need to distribute to thousands of parents. Parlaying this information frequently came with much resource and logistical costs: in both the human resources to get the documents to the parents and the shipping costs associated with such.

The Solution

La Ribambelle turned to tbk with a packaged requested: Develop a web-based application that would be integrate into their main website at LaRibambelle.ca—that tbk build, c2014—which first, would allow parents to enroll their children electronically and second, be used as the distribution channel for document, calendar, etc. communications with parents.

I) The Stack

Over a six-month period, tbk build a state-of-the-art web application portal for La Ribambelle. It sits on a stack of React/Redux, IBM Carbon Design System, PHP, WordPress and ElasticSearch.

As a user goes through the app’s experience, they are quickly absorbed into a professional experience that is tidy, well-constructed and uses space well.

II) Custom UI/UX

The UI/UX files were built to be vividly simple. There is very little room for confusion with the amount of space, clear buttons, custom icons, and deliberate uses of various colours.

Screenshot of the La Ribambelle Parent Portal dashboard in English
Screenshot of the La Ribambelle Parent Portal dashboard in English.

III) Language Toggling

La Ribambelle is a French-immersion educational company but many parents speak solely English. We installed an easily findable French/English toggling feature using the WPML (WordPress Multi Language Plugin); the content provided by La Ribambelle.

Screenshot of the La Ribambelle Parent Portal dashboard in English
Screenshot of the La Ribambelle Parent Portal dashboard in English.

IV) Sophisticated Resources

We built a sophisticated, highly functional yet easy to use and administer document sharing module within the web app. Via WordPress, La Ribambelle can add important files to the repository, triggering emails to all parents in the system. The files can be sorted by category and sifted through based on the date of publication.

The video above shows a user emulating using the Resources section.

V) Elegant Calendar Module

Accessible via the lefthand menu navigation is a Key Dates module that lists out notable upcoming events. Much akin to popular in-the-browser email systems to help with familiarity, a user can quickly sift through the calendar by month and curtail it into various different views of the calendar including Month, Week, Day and an Agenda list-type view.

A screenshot of the La Ribambelle parent portal key dates calendar.
A screenshot of the La Ribambelle parent portal key dates calendar.

VI) Digital Enrollment

As mentioned in the preamble, one of the primary goals of this application was to transcend the student registration from paper-based to digital.

We parlayed the contents of their paper-based / PDF forms into a digital form process. One of the key features that a digital form can bring that paper can’t is that we require all information to be filled out prior to the form having the capacity to be submitted. This feature is a big win for both La Ribambelle and parents as it reduces operational costs for the organization to review the apps and try to get back in touch with parents to acquire missing information; and it serves parents because there is peace of mind that when the form is submitted, it’s literally complete and they know that they met the required enrollment deadline.

A screenshot emulating usage of the digital enrolment form.
A screenshot emulating usage of the digital enrolment form.

“I wanted to share with you the incredible impact our new portal has had on our operations. First: Parents love it! All the information is in one place and the fact that it is bilingual reflects our true values. It takes parents less than 15 minutes to fill out a registration form comfortably from home. Once they have an account, it is easy for them to add another child. They can also find all the necessary resources in their account such a Parent Guide, Menus, etc. Second: Our operations have also benefited greatly from it. Because parents have to fill out all the required information online in order to register, all the forms we receive are complete. We can also manage different lists based on the data we have in the portal which is very valuable to us. The process is simplified and all needed information is now on one form. Thanks to you and your team for making this dream come true!”

Nicole Blanchette, Executive Director, La Ribambelle

Conclusion & Results

With La Ribambelle’s parent portal we set out to solve two specific but important issues:

  • Transcend to digital-based enrollment; eliminating the historical paper-based process
  • Establish stream-lined communications that reaches all parents more cost-effectively

This application, with its immensely tidy and easy to use UI/UX, strewn with the functional modules of language toggling (French/English), document sharing (Resources), a calendar (Key Dates), a digital enrollment form, etc., more than achieved the two goals it set out to achieve and proudly gives the client an important asset to make their operations better.

Since launch (April 5th, 2019) to December 31, 2029:

  • Usages – 2,231 usages (high user uptake)
  • Time Per Use – 8 minutes; 45 seconds (high engagement)
  • Pages Per Session – 1.85 (users are finding within a couple clicks what they are there to acquire)

Because of immensely funded technology platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, etc., consumers have established heightened expectations for how applications on the web should function. As a consumer takes pause from a monolithic app or network to use one hosted by a smaller counterpart, the standards often remain high. We built this platform for an SME organization, consistent with the high standards consumers will have; and in doing so, important operational and customer service goals were achieved.

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