New U of T phonebook directory, searching made easy

On July 29, you’ll notice that U of T has a revamped phonebook directory with a more modern, accurate and mobile-friendly website. Now you can easily search for staff, faculty members and division or department information using an accessible interface that’s available on tablets and phones.

Since fall 2019, Information Technology Services along with Human Resources & Equity have worked to improve data accuracy and have also conducted extensive research, design and usability testing across all three campuses.

“We’ve worked to improve the user experience for U of T staff, faculty, students and people outside of the University who need to get in touch,” says Pamela Harris, associate director of Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI). “People can quickly and easily find the contact information they need using their computers or mobile devices, and employees now have the ability to maintain important pieces of their own information.”

Similar to Google, the site will take the guesswork out of searching by providing autosuggestions, and will guide people through the searching process with helpful tips. It will also display helpful information from all three campuses, including emergency, media and safety contacts.

The directory allows you to easily search for people, faculties and departments by keyword, and filter your results by campus.

Beyond the user interface, the data accuracy in the new phonebook has also been greatly improved.

“We’re offering more reliable and robust data due to faster data exchanges with U of T’s VoIP provider, UTORauth, University of Toronto Scarborough, and U of T’s Human Resources Information System,” says David Wang, a data solution architect with EASI.

The team also conducted extensive research, design and usability testing across all three campuses.

“Before we began any design work, we conducted research with staff across all three campuses to understand their thoughts on the current directory, and what they’d like to see improved,” says Laura Klamot, a user experience designer with EASI. “We ran one-on-one and group interviews, created questionnaires, and performed several stages of usability testing. Our participants were really engaged in the process and their honest, thorough feedback makes us confident that the application will meet their needs when it’s released.”

On August 11, two more phonebook modules will be launched – one for staff and faculty to see additional information and edit parts of their contact information, and another for departmental administrators.

Staff and faculty will be able to log in using their UTORid and add additional phone numbers and an alternate U of T email. They can also select which phone number and email they would like to use to receive official Human Resources communications.

If users want to compile a list of departmental contacts, they can download search results as a PDF.

A view of what staff and faculty will see when logged in to the new phonebook.

The new phonebook will also ease Departmental Administrators’ workloads, since staff and faculty can update secondary information. Departmental Administrators will need to primarily maintain departmental-specific contact information.

A view of what departmental administrators will see when logged in to the new phonebook.

In the future, the phonebook could integrate with other university systems.

“We’re excited to launch this application,” says Harris. “In the future we hope to integrate it to even more University of Toronto resources, such as Campus Maps, MS Outlook, and an Emergency Contact application. We look forward to the possibilities!”

Interested in learning more about the Authenticated Search and Departmental Administrator Modules? Attend an upcoming training session on August 5, 6, 19 or 20.