University Website Usability Study

Set of two usability studies to understand how prospective students perceived the university's web offering. Focus on the online application process.

The Work

Alongside guidance-councilors, parents and peers, the web has become one of the main decision-making instruments for researching and choosing higher education. I conducted a set of two usability studies on behalf of a well-known university in order to understand how prospective students perceived the university’s web offering. I gave special focus to the online application process.

The Methodology

One-on-one interview plus concurrent think-aloud subjective questioning (English and French) in usability lab environment with recording of user interaction.

The Agency Perspective

Kate played a central role in our successful effort to guide a major public university’s online recruiting strategy. The university was concerned that online student applications had declined at all levels, and the small committee tasked with finding solutions believed that the existing web user experience was contributing to the problem. In order to understand how and where to improve the web experience, Kate organized and conducted a usability study of one-on-one interviews with prospective students at different levels. Her findings were clear and persuasive, not only helping the university’s team understand where to focus but also enabling them to build the necessary consensus for action among different faculties and administrators. After we worked with the university to revamp their web presence in accordance with Kate’s findings, we asked Kate to repeat the protocol with the new interface, confirming both the improvements and also uncovering additional opportunities for improvement. Once the improvements were launched, there was a marked increase in both inquiries and enrollments — a confirmed success that outperformed the client’s hopes at a reasonable cost.

– David Rollert, Vice President Design & Strategy – Phéromone Interactions Agency