Increasing findable opportunities for students

Rethinking the student journey through simplifying user paths and creating focused information architecture.

Project Details

User research, user journeys, information architecture, user testing, prototyping

Software used: Qualtrics, Optimal Workshop, Figma

Problem: Students in the College of Arts and Sciences are unaware of the opportunities available to them and confused about which important steps they should be during each year of their college journey.

Project Manager: Tim Grassley

My Role: UX development, UX research, information architecture, wireframes, prototyping

Process Overview

Identifying the "What?"

Student advisors, coaches and staff within the college felt a disconnect between student experiences and the vast opportunities available to them. A "roadmap team" was created to discover the disconnect students felt in their current academic journey and create a solution to aid students in maximizing their full potential during their time in Arts and Sciences.

Our first step was to identify the following:

+ What opportunities are students currently not aware of or utilizing?

+ What is missing from the current student experience?

+ What are the current tools students are using to find information available to them?

+ What do students feel is the most helpful tool to reach them?

We created a survey using Qualtrics to dig into these questions and gather data. The survey was sent to all current Arts and Sciences students, from which we received ~2,500 survey participants which represents 18% of the student population.

Key Insight

+ Students are disconnected from involvement and career development opportunities.

Problem Statement

Digging into the "Why"

Equipped with clues as to what students feel disconnected from we dug into the why. We conducted focus groups and an additional survey to gather insight into why they feel unfulfilled in their CU Boulder experience.

We learned the reason why students felt disconnected and unfulfilled was because they didn't know where to find helpful information and were unsure of when they were supposed to complete certain tasks through their college career.

In our survey we found that 42% of students preferred a website organized by topic and broken down by year to help them navigate their college experience and know what they should be doing year-by-year.

Exploring potentials

Armed with data and research from students we began to explore potential solutions. As a team we completed user personas and user journeys to ensure our solutions were in line with the users needs and pain points.

Our agreed upon solution to move forward:

+ Designing a student webpage for each year of a students journey connecting students directly to information on: academics, involvement, career and wellness.

Information Architecture

Through a detailed website audit we made a list of all topics relevant to student success at CU. To better understand how students categorized and grouped these topics we conducted a card sorting survey through Optimal Workshops.

Cards used for sorting

Finding Analysis

Based on the results, most participants grouped the cards into four distinct categories.

+ Academic

+ Involvement

+ Career

+ Wellness

Wireframes

I created wireframes on the best ways to categorize information. I decided on breaking information down year-by-year and organizing the most relevant information on each page in order of importance based on the year.

Prototype

I prototyped a webpage for user testing and stakeholder feedback. You can view the full prototype here.

User testing:

+ Positives: Easy to navigate

+ Pain points: Too much space in between topics which creates too much scrolling.

Stakeholder feedback:

+ Positives: Visually appealing

+ Pain Points: Condense information to the most useful, add some sort of timeline element to help students be aware of deadlines.

How will success be measured?

We will measure the effectiveness of the webpages by tracking the following:

+ Analytics: Student visits to the new web pages compared to current student site visits.

+ Engagement: Tracking student engagement in workshops, career events, and webinar opportunities that are highlighted on the pages.

+ Retention: Student retention in the College of Arts and Sciences year over year.

Current step: developing a high-resolution website

Other projects: 

A. Steele Creative 2021