Replace Apple iTunes U

In '08 we set up an Apple iTunes U private site for the students of an online college.

Apple stopped hosting these sites in 2015 so we created a complete, custom, replacement system and made it better than the original offering.

Login page for digital content site


  • over 350 user accounts
  • over 250 course items
  • controlled access to over 100GB of content.

Solution: web app + cloud storage

To meet this challenge we created a custom app with ProcessWire and married this to DropBox for file storage heavy lifting (keep hosting costs down).

Good UX through intuitive UI

With the heavy lifting in place we focused on delivering a good UX through an intuitive UI featuring carefully written copy and using CSS and jQuery to deliver as simple an experience as possible.

UI featuring auto-select of password upon click (the image has fake passwords :)

As a result we successfully kept the students learning curve shallow and didn't need to field any support calls.


We wrote nearly 2,000 words or original help so students could easily use their new website.

Video of UI

As part of the help we also created a video showing students how to use the website to access their content securely held in Dropbox.

Custom registration

Our client needed control over student registration, so we created a system that allows students to partially register, with just a username.

The student is advised their account is being authenticated and an authentication email is sent to our client:

Registration authentication emailOur client checks the email address looks good for the username and if happy clicks the link to visit a one-time unique 'crypto' URL which automatically completes the student's registration and sends them an email confirming this.

Modal at load—a UI improvement

Following launch we found a small sub-set of users were not reading labels and were, for example, clicking to login when they had not yet registered.

To ensure all users had a painless login we changed the UI, adding a custom modal over the login area prompting people to choose one of three paths. This completely solved the problem.

Login communication

Another small finesse to help the wide ranging demographic of this site was a communicative login process:

Login treatment communicates

  • first glance
    • fields include a content type prompt
    • 'Login' is visually and actually disabled
  • when data is entered
    • 'Login' is visually shown as enabled
  • upon submission
    • 'Login' changes to '...processing...' to show something is happening (the back end is processing the form).



I have to say I am liking this new interface, so much better than iTU!

What we did
Identity designWe designed the key recognizable brand attributes.
Website buildWe designed and produced the CSS, HTML5, JavaScript and graphic resources needed to build this website.
CMF integrationWe built in vELVET™, our professional grade content management framework.
HostingWe provide hosting services.
OngoingWe provide ongoing enhancement and development.
Content creationWe provided original content creation services.
SEOSearch Engine Optimization.

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