Update to Program Details Page
Timeline: 1-week design/ 3-month testing • Materials: Pen, Paper, and Adobe Xd
UX Techniques: Analytics, Competitive/Comparative Analysis, Sketching, Prototyping, Mockups, Optimizely for Variant Testing
Once a year we work with an outside agency to conduct research about prospective students. This 200+ page document dives deep into what makes a prospective student decide to go back to school. This document is a great resource from persona information, competitive tuition cost, and even what industry is growing so that we can market more to that demographic.
Through this research and our own evaluation and analytics we found that prospective students ask themselves three important questions:
- Do you have my program?
- How much does it cost?
- Where is the program held?
In this project we are focusing on the third question but see my other projects for ‘Do You Have My Program?’ and ‘How much does it cost?’. There are two possible answers to answer the question, “Where is the program held?”—either online or on campus. The majority of Nation University’s programs are held online, but if a program is strictly on campus, like some of our nursing programs, it will be held at a specific campus location.
On the old page, finding useful information, such as program location, number of credits, and important dates, was hard to come by. This was in large part due to the layout for these pages being strictly from a faculty prospective, which was not serving students. We used research, competitive analysis, and persona development to see that format/location was highly important to prospective students. There was a box labeled ‘available online’ that would indicate if the program was online; however, information was not provided about campus location if it was a campus only program.
Example of the old program page not showing information on location
In the new design of the program page, we implemented a ‘quick view’ bar. It’s one of the first elements a user will see. This bar includes really useful information including number of credits in the program, enrollment and start dates, and of course, where the program is held.
From our research, prospective students really cared about this information. If they couldn’t find the necessary answers to their questions, they would simply abandon the page, and to go to a competitor that was clearer about this information.
One challenge we had with the client was the concern this block would have to be updated constantly because degree programs are continually changing, sometimes monthly, with classes being added or dropped. However, this dynamic content could be scheduled out with a yearly calendar of enroll and class starts dates. The only thing that would have to be upddated manually would be the total amount of credits.
The ‘Quick View’ block and how it was placed-in from a UI/Visual layout
The belief was that if prospective students were given shorter, more digestible content with better tools, like the ‘quick view’ bar, it would generate more leads and thus they would be more likely to enroll in the university resulting in higher revenue.
Mockup of how the ‘Quick View’ would look in a mobile device
Mockup of how the ‘Quick View’ would look in a desktop layout
The top 5 programs at NU had the following increases after 85 days:
- MBA Program Page: 52% improvement over original
- BS Computer Science Program Page: 5% improvement over original
- BBA Program Page: 97% improvement over original
- RN to BSN Program Page: 47% improvement over original
- BS Nursing Program Page: 32% improvement over original
Overall improvement to program pages vs the control/original
A thing I would do differently in the future would be to get feedback from the client sooner. Had we done this, we would have understood earlier their fears regarding updating the website constantly and would have been able to assuage those fears. It also would have enabled us to explain the importance of the quick facts for prospective students.