UC Berkeley Extension
10 min read
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
This project was completed as part of a UC Berkeley Extension course.
What I did
A user reaching the UX Professional Program page from Homepage: a long process.
In this project, I focused on the enrollment path from the homepage to the UX Design Professional Program page. The key priorities were to:
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
UC Berkeley Extension, San Francisco Campus
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.
The Professional Program pages can be reached through several entry points, but not directly from the homepage
Such notes helped me to understand users' perspectives and identify the main issues
A basic teardown while considering usability heuristics helped to identify several issues that would likely affect conversion:
🧐 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!
From my previous analyzes, I focused the project on redesigning of the homepage and on a landing page:
To identify where and what are the main issues, I conducted a qualitative search: 1:1 semi-structured remote interviews & usability tests (3 participants)
Profile photos are stock photos, as per participants request
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:
*Scrolling and Attention by Therese Fessenden, Nielsen Norman Group, April 2018
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.)
From the previous usability tests and interviews, I was able to prioritize issues:
Working on the redesign of the homepage.
Low-fidelity prototyping is great to explore and test quicly new ideas
I focused on reorganizing the Information Architecture to improve the KPIs and increase the discoverability of the Professional Program landing pages:
The redesign of the homepage was an opportunity to add or redesign some marketing blocks to highlight some services.
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)
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:
The challenge of the next iteration was to reorganize the information architecture of the Professional Program page.
The solution I chose was to:
*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
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:
Contact me 📬
Whether you are looking for a Principal 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!
“Accessibility allows us to tap into everyone’s potential.” – Debra Ruh