WHAT IS IT?

A bright glimpse into a world of ideas. Helping prospective students find their program at The New School.

In many cases a first introduction to the University, these landing pages were an effort to increase enrollment in specific programs and build awareness in general.

MY ROLE

UX/UI Designer
MY OUTPUT

User flows
Wireframes
UI Design
Invision prototyping
CHALLENGE

Users needed to be quickly oriented and strongly urged to commit to requesting information while also being afforded opportunities to engage in a personal way.

Most of the programs being offered represented significant investments of time and money. And the application process is long and involved. So the landing pages could only be considered a first step on what may very well be a life long relationship. Another challenge was the great range in the type of programs being offered. Programs in Fashion Marketing, Creative Writing, and doctoral programs, like Anthropology, among others, represented different engagements with the University, different students, and different needs. But the scope and budget of the outreach plan necessitated grouping all of these together into a single user experience journey.
RESEARCH

Anaylisis of previous landing page outcomes. Discussions with enrollment experts. Competitive research.

Most experts suggest that landing pages should do nothing more than direct a user to one clear call to action. The best examples feature a compelling photo, a single line of copy and a large button. This is the case both for consumer products as well as for higher education. However, faced with only one choice — to submit an email address requesting more information — users were clicking away rather than through. Traffic from the website suggested that users were finding their own way to the information by alternate routes. This insight was backed up by the the experience of enrollment experts on staff.
SOLUTION

Provide clear next step. And make alternate pathways of discovery an option.

A strong hierarchy was developed to urge the user toward the simpler step of requesting information while making further discoveries about the program and the university easily accessible.

Comprehensive and direct orientation.

A limited number of concrete clues quickly establish for the user a reassuring sense of knowing exactly where they are and what the opportunity is.
USER FLOW

Big picture goals — Initiating the Application Process. Opportunities revealed.

While the scope of this project was limited to a set of landing pages, I felt it was important to place them within the larger context of students ultimately submitting applications to the programs. The particular goal of this project was to have prospective students take the first step, either, ideally, by requesting information, or by using the website to become more familiar with a particular school or department at the university. The ultimate goal, though, of prospective students is to find the right program. And the ultimate goal of the university is to have those users apply and become students. So I mapped the journey from discovery via an ad through to submitting an application.

There are many tributaries here. So there are many opportunities to improve engagement with prospective students. A comprehensive user experience plan which evaluates each of these touch points and puts together a strategy for addressing any challenges prospective students face at these points would likely have a positive impact on user engagement.

WIREFRAMES

Signposts. A clear target. Options.

Users are able to immediately place themselves within a specific offering at The New School via a strong title, logo placement, and reinforcement in the introductory copy. Users who want to engage immediately can directly request more information via the large, persistent, button at the bottom of the page. Users who want to explore first can use the navigation at the top of the page or scroll to view key distinguishing facts about the program and the university as a whole. Exploratory users can also travel directly to the program’s website where they can delve more deeply into what they might be studying, what the professors are like and what makes The New School unique and particular.

Tapping Request Info provides users with additional information about what they will be receiving once they fill out the form. A repetition of the course name reminds users that they are in the right place.

NOW/NEXT

Priorities

Track usage of Visit Site option versus filling out form to request information.

Next Steps

User Research/testing with actual prospective students. Discovering what users are looking for when they arrive at the website is crucial for improving outcomes for both university and prospective student goals.

Discover and address pain points of prospective students at all points of engagement with the university — print, digital, and physical.