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IBM Services Grant Helps Connect North Carolina to Global Opportunities

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Part of the University of North Carolina system, The Center for International Understanding (CIU) is a non-profit organization that works with leaders in education, policy, and business to identify significant international policy issues and position North Carolina to make the most out of global opportunities. For more than 30 years, CIU has been promoting global awareness, understanding, and action to help make North Carolina the most globally engaged state in the nation. In support of this mission, CIU sought an IBM Website User Experience Services Grant to help enhance our website’s content, navigation, branding
and design.


Increasingly, organizations must rely on robust websites to communicate their mission and drive support. It is growing more important for websites to be visually captivating, purpose driven and intuitive in functionality. Looking ahead to a website and branding redesign, CIU hoped to gain insight from IBM into how to best communicate information about our organization and our goals for North Carolina.

CIU needed a road map to use as a reference for short- and long-term web redesign projects. Through the IBM Website User Experience Services Grant process, we gained a better idea of what our next steps should be, along with the confidence to plan for the future more strategically. As part of the grant, IBM and CIU worked jointly to complete a thorough assessment of the website. This process included user surveys, IBM’s page-by-page review of the website, a day-long workshop, follow-up discussions and a final report presentation.

During the workshop, CIU gained invaluable insight and guidance from IBM experts on best practices for websites, in addition to recommendations and activities specifically tailored to our audiences and goals. Together with IBM, CIU was able to assess the website as a whole, and examine its content, design, branding, and structure.

Gaining insight from an expert third party was an enriching learning experience. The workshop revealed strengths as well as areas for improvement not only for the website but also in our overall branding and communications efforts. The grant enabled thought-provoking discussions on ways to clarify our mission, vision, and impacts in order to increase support for our global work. We ended the session feeling motivated and enthused about the redesign process.

CIU greatly appreciates our partners at IBM for connecting us to this wonderful grant opportunity, and for their website & communications guidance and expertise. It was
a pleasure working with the IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and
IBM Interactive teams.

We are anxious to begin implementing the suggested next steps in the redesign of our website, and look forward to using the breadth of knowledge gained from the website user experience assessment now and in years to come!

Adam Hartzell is Executive Director of the Center for International Understanding.

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