Maastricht University

Choosing the right study, with less stress

With 55.000 pages, 400+ people adding content and an outdated CMS Maastricht University desperately needed a new website. Contrary to previous updates this time the Marketing Director wanted a focus on new content, not just new tools such as a new CMS.

We started with a task analysis, created a content strategy and developed a solid foundation for the new design and development of With 90% less call to the helpdesk as a result.

Vital information for study choice

Maastricht University was struggling with an important part of the primary process: a smooth study choice and on-boarding of prospective students. At the same time there were technical issues with the CMS. And with content management: more than 400 people had an account for publishing content. As a consequence the site had grown to a staggering 55.000 URLs…

According to the rankings Maastricht University is one of the best young universities worldwide. Maastricht University has a unique profile:

  • a problem oriented education structure,
  • a very international character and
  • a multi-disciplinary approach of research and education.

Maastricht University actively seeks cooperation with society and business. It gets its inspiration from urgent and relevant issues in society.

Facilitating a perfect match between students and programme

For any university matching the right students with the right bachelor program is a challenge. For Maastricht University, with more than 50% international students, it is an extra challenge because these students often are not able to visit an open day in real life.

And there were issues. Prospective students lost their way on the website, red hot telephone lines at the helpdesk around admission deadlines, and researchers could not never really get an overview of what Maastricht University actually does.

What made all of this urgent was the technical need for updating the Drupal CMS, the enormous amount of webpages (55.000) and the large number of people adding content (400+).

Focus on the end user

Instead of focusing on the CMS update, Maastricht University chose a different approach. They wanted a new website that was based on new content, not just on new IT.

A site with a clear focus on the end user. A bilingual website that presented the right information in the right form at the right time for prospective students, researchers, employees and other visitors. Focusing on the reason for their visit: their Job-to-be-Done.

From 55.000 to 3.000 webpages. The result of the focused effort of the client team with ContentKings.

Content strategy, content design and production

ContentKings was involved from the start of the project. Step-by-step, in close cooperation with partners Zuiderlicht and Finalist we helped Maastricht University realise a new website. During this process we worked on:

  • a content strategy for all target audiences and channels of Maastricht University (9 Customer Jobs)
  • a follow-up of the content strategy to support the development process of the new site (Customer Job Canvases)
  • a content plan for the project editorial team (50 Content Formats)
  • support of the editorial team (consultancy, presentations, guidelines, editorial manual)
  • editing (almost 1000 web pages)

In detail

For the inventory of user needs we used a combination of user research tools: online statistics, online questionnaires and task analysis interviews. With these tools we could explicitly find the questions and describe the customer jobs that end users have.

The content strategy that resulted matched internal goals with external desired outcomes of stakeholders. During this process we involved as many departments from Maastricht University as possible. Because of the very decentralized structure of the existing website this was extremely important for a successful project.

Our next step was to describe the 9 customer job canvases clarifying what end users are looking for on the website. What are the questions of users that the website of Maastricht University needs to answer? In close cooperation with Zuiderlicht and the Maastricht University team and based on the content strategy we designed structures for the website: formats.

Parallel to building the site the editorial team took off with a fast start. The editorial team worked in the Tapijnkazerne, a new “hip” location of Maastricht University. Twenty editors worked for months to review the CMS, redesign the formats and produce all content.

Next to these activities we produced 1000 pages, specifically for ‘Applying for a programme’ and ‘Support’.

About the Customer Job method in this project

The Customer Jobs were ideal for creating a shared vision on what the new website should do for UM stakeholders. It laid the ground work for the redesign, the development road map and also helped to convince all of the internal stakeholders.

But you don't have to take our word for it. Check the quote by Manon Gorissen, projectleader at Maastricht University.

In 2014 Maastricht University faced a major challenge with a 55.000 URLs and high volume of calls and mails for the international help desk. ContentKings developed a convincing digital strategy for Maastricht University with a strong focus on the end user: prospective students, scientists and alumni.


Their method helped our organization coordinate our efforts and integrate the organization of our information. Not only did ContentKings know what works for our end-users; they were also able to inspire the rest of the organization.

Manon Gorissen
Manager Digital Innovation at Maastricht University

The result: a task-oriented site

  • The new site answers all questions of end users, with the most important information clearly presented.
  • Orientation for a Bachelor program is presented upfront.
  • For some faculties the number of calls to the helpdesk dropped significantly (90%).
  • Academic research gets the attention it deserves.
  • The site creates a clear picture of living and studying in Maastricht, creating an ‘only Open Day’ for international students.

Maastricht University really embraced the Customer Job vision by ContentKings. The 9 Customer Jobs are an integral and prominent part of the Communication guide for the UM website.

Ellen Altenburg

Want to know more? Want to know what ContentKings can do for your project? Contact Ellen.

Contact Ellen

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