UC Berkeley Extension logo

Increase enrollment rate

UC Berkeley Extension

10 min read

Summary

UC Berkeley Extension is the continuing education branch of the University of California, Berkeley. I redesign the UC Berkeley Extension enrollment page according to research results with limited time and budget. 

The challenge was to realize a fast return on investment by developing UX Research and identifying design solutions allowing the reuse of their current CMS.

I reorganized the information architecture of the professional program page and packed content into meaningful chunks. I also revised the user flow, in order that users could reach directly to professional program pages through navigation menu.

Testing showed that the users of the final design solutions were able to comprehend information more efficiently and successfully reach the enrollment page in an effortless way.

Project type: Adult Education Website
Industry: Education


This project was completed as part of a UC Berkeley Extension course.

My Role

  • UX Researcher
  • UX Designer
  • Prototyper

What I did

  • Business Analysis

  • Ethnography

  • Interviews

  • Usability testing

  • Surveys

  • Recommendations
  • Prototyping

UX Challenge

A user reaching the UX Professional Program page from Homepage: a long process.

How to increase the KPI on lengthy pages?

In this project, I focused on the enrollment path from the homepage to the UX Design Professional Program page. The key priorities were to:

  • Realize a fast return on investment by developing UX Research doable and compatible with a short timeline
  • Rethink the Information Architecture of lengthy pages
  • Define issues and design solutions to optimize the user flow and the website findability
  • Working on design solutions implementable with the current CMS (Destiny Solutions.)

Economics

Context: a $159 million budget deficit

This Design Challenge took place during sensitive economic times for UC Berkeley: the University had then had a structural deficit of $159 million. In exchange for funding assistance, they negotiated annual reduction and created new programs that generated revenues

These programs were expected to yield $53 million. About $5.9 million were expected to come from University Extension.

University Extension divisional budget dashboard showed then that it has been targeted for its immediate growth opportunities*— growing international, corporate education, boot camp programs, and optimization of public programs, such as the UX Professional Program

UC Berkeley Extension targeted for increased revenues - The Daily Californian, August 2017

The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning

UC Berkeley Extension, San Francisco Campus

UX Audit

User Flows

To start, I conducted an analysis of several University Extensions and Adult Education websites. I searched for the best and worst enrollment flows and was able to create a Happy Path. I analyzed then the actual User Flow of UC Berkeley Extention website, like if I were a future UX student interested in enrolling in the UX Professional Program. 

The User Flow pointed out an excinting lead: the UX page can be reached through several entry points.

Actual UCBX User Flow

The Professional Program pages can be reached through several entry points, but not directly from the homepage

Notes about issues I found on the homepage for the UX Audit

Such notes helped me to understand users' perspectives and identify the main issues

Teardown

A basic teardown while considering usability heuristics helped to identify several issues that would likely affect conversion:

  •  No sub-menu to reach the different Programs and Certificates pages directly
  • Cumbersome User Flow
  • No proper Call to Action: on the UX page, the enrollment is a simple text link lost in the content
  • Labeling issues: users might not understand or might not be attracted to the labels of the sections - such as indexing “UX Design” into the Art section!
  • Lengthy pages don't have clear headings and structure information


🧐 I was surprised to find any multi-levels menu and any clear call-to-action to enroll in a Program. I remembered then when I signed up for the UX Professional Program, I found the website pretty was unwieldy!

Prioritization

From my previous analyzes, I focused the project on redesigning of the homepage and on a landing page:

  • Optimize the user path 
  • Rethink & Redesign a Professional Program page to improve its engagement rates


Research

Mix method: interviews and usability testing

To identify where and what are the main issues, I conducted a qualitative search: 1:1 semi-structured remote interviews & usability tests (3 participants)


Opportunities

  • Observe which path participants took to land on the UX Design Professional Program page
  • Observe how they would apply to the Program
  • Collect feedback and analyze them to recommend new design solutions
Participants profiles

Profile photos are stock photos, as per participants request

“I can’t find the UX Program into Technology and Information Management.” 

— Courtenay

Findings

The Usability tests pointed out that 75% of the participants encountered difficulty reaching the UX Professional Program page. 

Most participants first used the menu to try to reach the UX Program Professional page. As pointed out earlier, the menu is restricted to one level  —  I observed the participants were surprised. That paint point could affect traffic and conversion rates.

All commented that these lengthy pages demand a lot of attention* and were "messy" (Emmanuel), "should be cleaner" (Courtenay) — I noticed some frustration and annoyance.

The top issues I heard were:

  • "I can't find the UX program in the menu."
  • "There's too many text to read finding where I can enroll."
  • "The pages are so long."
  • "I can't find the button to enroll."
     

*Scrolling and Attention by Therese Fessenden, Nielsen Norman Group, April 2018

Persona Development

My research concluded with the development of a principal persona: Frances, a young professional in her 30's, based in the Bay Area, looking for a career change.

Another persona could have been an excellent addition: an international student attending to the UX Professional Program (student visa through the immersive program.)

Frances the career changer, main persona

Prioritizing issues

Issues

From the previous usability tests and interviews, I was able to prioritize issues:

  • The unique level menu could affect traffic and conversion rates.
  • No clear Call-To-Action on the landing pages
  • The information architecture don't allow a rapid scanning (F-Pattern)
  • On the Professional Program landing page, contents are not contextually organized

Wireframes

Working a on low fidelity prototype of the homepage

Working on the redesign of the homepage.
Low-fidelity prototyping is great to explore and test quicly new ideas

Solutions

I focused on reorganizing the Information Architecture to improve the KPIs and increase the discoverability of the Professional Program landing pages:

  • Optimize the user flow by adding a sub-navigation
  • Reorganize the Information Architecture of both pages
  • Add clear Call-to-Action buttons

 The redesign of the homepage was an opportunity to add or redesign some marketing blocks to highlight some services.

Methodology

  • First step: explore and ideate concepts quicky using low-fidelity prototypes 
  • Second step: design middle-fi prototypes (Sketch + Invision)
  • Third step: organize a new round of usability testing
First version of prototype of the homepage
First version of prototype of the UX professional program page

Usability Tests

Prototypes

The interactive wireframes are now ready to be tested. I conducted three one-to-one usability tests to collect feedback.

🧐 One participant was closed to Frances, my main Persona. This person was particularly interesting to listen to and observe.

Version of the prototypes as tested during usability tests (Invision)

User testing the new solution

Feedback

  • Sub-navigation: 100% of the participants reached the UX Professional Page using the submenu 
  • Call to Action buttons: on the UX Professional Program, all participants used it. 

Findings

The main paint points concerned the Information Architecture of the UX Professional Program page: that lengthy page still contained a lot of information to read (and process.)

A participant made an interesting suggestion: adding a gallery of student projects. I thought it would be an excellent illustration of students' savoir-faire in the UX Professional Program page.

The top issues I heard were:

  • "I don't understand which class is elective and which one is required."
  • "I want to know how much the Program costs."

“I liked the stories. I wish I could see student projects to get an idea of the level of the classes.” 

— Cherry

Final Design Solutions

Iterations

The challenge of the next iteration was to reorganize the information architecture of the Professional Program page.

The solution I chose was to: 

  • Chunk the content about the classes into three tabs to distinguish the electives and required courses, following good UX practices*.
  • Add three bold visual blocks to highlight the essential information about this Professional Program: prerequisites, advisor services & cost
  • Add a gallery of student projects 
  • Add a contact information block on the homepage (right column)


 *Tabs, Used Right by Jakob Nielsen, Nielsen Norman Group, July 2016

The content about the organization of the classes was chunked into 3 tabs.
Micro animation made with Adobe XD

UX Professional Program Page
Next pages: Homapage and Professional Landing Page from current page to final solutions

Conclusion

What I learned

Being a Product Designer, I'm used to ideate projects with different feedback; therefore, this project was one of the first ones I worked as a Primary Researcher, a role I define now as key in the UX journey. 

Using qualitative data and heuristic evaluations helped me to design centered-user solutions and to become a better user advocate.

I discovered that I enjoy meeting and interviewing users and get their direct feedback! It's interesting to observe them using websites or apps, especially the ones  who are not tech-savvy (the famous Silicon Valley bias!) On a personal level, these meetings were enlightening and improved my natural empathy.

What would I do differently today?

If I had to work on a similar project, I would interview more people with very different profiles and roles to collect their experience and insights:  

  • Present and former UCBX students 
  • UCBX Administrative assistants
  • UCBX teachers

BE CURIOUS, HAVE A LOOK!

15 YEARS OF STRATEGIC THINKING

More projects I've delivered

More projects I've delivered

Why work with me


LET'S BUILD SOMETHING MAGIC TOGETHER

Send me a note

Whether you are looking for a seasoned Product Designer to add to your team or just curious to know more about this case study, reach out and tell me what's you're up to. 
I am always on the lookout for my next challenge!

© 2020 Stephanie Lesperance   |   All Rights Reserved