Insight-to-outcome

WES UX – Evolution to
Revolution

As one of the largest nonprofit credentialing services in the world, World Education Services (WES) maintained an equally large site with content amassed over 25 years. This size and complexity contributed to a decline in usability and content organization.

The site needed to service two unique audience groups seamlessly—institutions and students. Students applying for a graduate degree program or work in the US use the site as a two-way communication portal. Institutions utilize the portal to identify student candidates for opportunities.

Our Approach

Understand

Empathize / Define
  • Review previously collected business requirements and stakeholder interview documentation.
  • Interviews with staff recruiters and student ambassadors informed personas that were used to design the user experience.
  • Journey maps for each audience were created to inform the information flow and sitemap.
  • A traffic analysis revealed that a mobile-first, responsive design would be essential for the project.
  • The new site needed to meet ADA and AODA (Canadian) Requirements, requiring the team to study federally mandated access requirements adopted by the Federal Access Board under section 508 and subsection 1194.22 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as Canadian Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications.
Aha!

Understanding cultural norms and labels in each country enabled the team to create pathways that felt familiar and easy to use.

"My last name is my 5th name, usually we ask for first name, then full name, then just the family name."

–Hassan, Egypt

Explore

Empathize / Define
  • The new site was prototyped in InVision, enabling collaboration between BNO and client staff to review and optimize the design prior to visual design and implementation.
  • The team then transformed mid-fidelity, responsive mockups into high-fidelity prototypes by providing and inserting key digital assets (icons, images, etc.) to create a realistic user testing environment.
  • Because the front-end of the site needed to work seamlessly with the back-end, collaboration sessions with the client’s back-end development team were conducted weekly.

Prototyping at each design stage – from lo-fi wires to a fully functioning InVision prototype – enabled continuous improvement of the solution at the right time in the process. There is an inverse relationship between the phase a functionality change is identified and the cost of the change. Earlier is better."

-Dave D, Director of User Experience

Materialize

Empathize / Define
  • The beta site was launched and tested with both the student and institutional audiences in multiple countries. Usability test results were analyzed and implemented prior to full site launch.
  • To facilitate ongoing maintenance and maintain design integrity, a ”living style guide” was developed with embedded code to enable internal staff and other partners to easily access and apply visual styles as new functionality is added.
  • Review previously collected business requirements and stakeholder interview documentation.
  • Interviews with staff recruiters and student ambassadors informed personas that were used to design the user experience.
  • Journey maps for each audience were created to inform the information flow and sitemap.
  • A traffic analysis revealed that a mobile-first, responsive design would be essential for the project.
  • The new site needed to meet ADA and AODA (Canadian) Requirements, requiring the team to study federally mandated access requirements adopted by the Federal Access Board under section 508 and subsection 1194.22 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as Canadian Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications.
Aha!

Understanding cultural norms and labels in each country enabled the team to create pathways that felt familiar and easy to use.

"My last name is my 5th name, usually we ask for first name, then full name, then just the family name."

– Hassan, Egypt

  • The new site was prototyped in InVision, enabling collaboration between BNO and client staff to review and optimize the design prior to visual design and implementation.
  • The team then transformed mid-fidelity, responsive mockups into high-fidelity prototypes by providing and inserting key digital assets (icons, images, etc.) to create a realistic user testing environment.
  • Because the front-end of the site needed to work seamlessly with the back-end, collaboration sessions with the client’s back-end development team were conducted weekly.

Prototyping at each design stage – from lo-fi wires to a fully functioning InVision prototype – enabled continuous improvement of the solution at the right time in the process. There is an inverse relationship between the phase a functionality change is identified and the cost of the change. Earlier is better."

-Dave D, Director of User Experience

  • The beta site was launched and tested with both the student and institutional audiences in multiple countries. Usability test results were analyzed and implemented prior to full site launch.
  • To facilitate ongoing maintenance and maintain design integrity, a ”living style guide” was developed with embedded code to enable internal staff and other partners to easily access and apply visual styles as new functionality is added.

Results

  • 27% increase in visitors (Q1 2018 vs Q1 2017).
  • 35% increase in customer engagement measured by time on site.
  • 30% improvement in desktop Google keyword ranking.
  • 130% improvement in mobile Google keyword ranking.
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