Content Designer /UX Researcher
Pateel Bedoyan, Juhi Chakraverty, Simon Chen, Tee Kundu
4 months (Jan 2021 - April 2021)
The Student Hub has an effective content strategy that will be able to cover all of its target audiences. As well as, a new menu structure for easier navigation.
Centennial College just had its 50th anniversary and to celebrate, they were planning on doing a complete redesign of their website. This school relies heavily on attracting international students from all over the world to come to the college for post-secondary education. They have a section on their website called the “Student Hub” page and this page is supposed to act as a “one-stop” shop for all students (domestic & international) to learn new updates regarding activities on their campuses, financial aid information and especially orientation information. They also wanted to appeal to indigenous students by creating a section for them filled with event information, and scholarship information to create a virtual space online.
Lately, they’ve noticed that the student hub section of their website has a high bounce rate of students leaving the page or accessing the page via internal search and not through navigating the website menu to find it. A lot of the content on the student hub was inconsistent, leaving students confused and often leaving the website together to google search on their own.
Defining the Problem
The information architecture and content of the Student Hub section is confusing for students, especially international and indigenous students, who can't seem to find the particular result they're looking for on the website. This often leads to them leaving the site to use Google instead, resulting in the Student Hub losing clicks.
The Proposed Solution
Our proposed solution was to conduct a content audit of the current content in the Student Hub. Then, redesign the information architecture for the Student Hub section based on our findings from the audit. This would help the college better guide its students to the right places. We also wanted to create a content strategy implementation plan, outlining content guidelines including voice and tone. As well as, identify the missing gaps of content that the Student Hub is having trouble addressing.
Our main goal was to increase reach to our target student audiences, improve the overall experience of the Student Hub for all users and make this a crucial online resource for students to utilize during their academic year. In doing so, we hope the Student Hub will become a valuable tool that enhances the on-campus experience of students.
The first course of action my team did, was to conduct a competitive analysis, comparing Centennial College to its direct competition, which was other local colleges in Toronto.
To summarize, we found that Centennial College's Student Hub actually had useful content on the pages that actually had content but, it just needed better organization. We also found that the Student Hub's voice and tone excelled amongst its competitors but, the Student Hub needed to improve on its ease of navigation as it was hard to navigate around the website at times. There was no clear guideline on how they wrote content on the platform. Since one of their target users was international students, they really excelled at having content for students new to Centennial College and new to studying in Canada. However, they lack having indigenous content for the indigenous section of their website, causing them to lose out on potential indigenous students.
The next step was to conduct a content audit, auditing the Student Hub's content in hopes to see where there was miscommunication.
Based on the research we collected, we created five personas based on Centennial College’s five student bodies (three of which they’re trying to appeal to): International, Domestic, Mature, and Students with Disabilities.
These personas helped us better understand the students of Centennial College. The survey helped us uncover students' main concerns with the college as well as with the student hub itself. What information were people not able to access from the student hub? What pages seemed redundant or unclear? These were some of the questions we asked students who were interviewed by us along with the survey.
We sketched a new information architecture based on our research and feedback on what would be the best way for students to better navigate their way throughout the website.
Using the student personas, we created goals that each student should be able to easily accomplish based on the new information architecture. With these goals, we created a journey that takes the student to their ideal goal successfully. Our Journey maps helped us feel confident that the new IA would be very effective once implemented.