Website & mobile application for Br(ik

New student room finder platform

wireframing
Design & Development
Drupal 8
Support
Hosting

The challenge

Br(ik is short for ‘Brussel&ik’ (Brussels & I), a unique cooperation project where all Dutch-speaking universities in Brussels manage a joint student room database spread over the 19 municipalities of Brussels. Under the motto of ‘everything for city students', Br(ik can be regarded as a service desk for students in Brussels.

Drop by if you are looking for a student room, would like to help with the large Brussels Brost student festival or simply need some advice on Brussels.

The 'MyKot' student room finder of Br(ik is a website for students that are looking for a student room and for landlords who want to offer their rooms ('kot' is the Flemish word for student room). It is a catalyst that brings together supply and demand with now more than 4,000 high-quality student rooms online. Previously, there was a student room finder too, but this site had become out-of-date. 

Br(ik wanted a website and mobile app for the new student room finder. A high-quality and efficient solution that guaranteed maintainability was sought. Our team went through to the preliminary process consisting of the technical analysis and the wireframes and was given the contract to ‘design and develop’.

+25,000
Flemish students
in Brussels
+4,000
student rooms
on brik.mykot.be
400
student rooms
that are managed 'in-house'
Text color
#C0C0C0 1

The solution

1 platform, 2 websites
We built 1 platform with 2 separate websites: one for Br(ik and one for the Walloon counterpart PLE. This ensured a Dutch and a French version could be created, each with their separate content for desktop and mobile applications. We used Drupal 8 for this, the ideal system for this type of platform approach. The approach was phased from design, build, testing and cool-down to the migration, content introduction and going live.

 

Focus on the search engine
Special attention was paid to (mobile) usability for students, student room landlords and Br(ik itself. Students mainly need a good search engine. They can enter their criteria and, therefore, only those student rooms are found that they are searching for without being overloaded by the extensive supply of rooms. Elasticsearch is the underlying search engine that makes all of this possible fast.

For Br(ik and the student room landlords it is important that they can appropriately manage the site and the supply of student rooms. This is possible even on mobile devices thanks to a useful content management system (CMS). For that matter, all data from the old student room finder was retained and transferred to the new model. A functional extra is that the site also provides an automatic and printable tenancy agreement between the landlord and the student.

MyKot room detail page on a mobile device
MyKot room detail page viewed on a laptop
MyKot login page viewed on a tablet

Hosting & support

We began with the development in May 2016. The delivery had been planned for the beginning of the academic year in September 2016. The official launch actually took place in January after a few last-minute changes and a delay in the preview drill. Now everyone is served with 1 solution, that is, both the desktop user and the mobile surfer.

We will continue to be Br(ik's partner for another 3 years for hosting and support. We guarantee a helpdesk, maintenance and security updates.

University classroom