University of Utah
Re-design of the College of Pharmacy's website for a changing demographic of prospective students.
The College of Pharmacy is now ranked #17 according to U.S. News & World Report, has dropped in rankings like these and in overall applications to their flagship graduate program (the PharmD) over the last 4 years. Over the last 10 years, traffic to leading U.S. websites from mobile devices has grown to over 50 percent.
The 700+ page website was in desperate need of a redesign.
Users come to the site looking for answers and seeking solutions to problems, but they are confronted with confusing menus, and overloaded pages with conflicting messages. And that's assuming they are accessing the site on a desktop device.
I wanted to find out who was using the site and learn what the other problems the college may be facing. My research influenced design and organization choices and developed a better user experience users.
- User Interviews
- User Testing
- Competitive Analysis
- There are 6 key users that frequently visit and use the site.
- Users age 18-25 were important constituents to target according to the declining applications to the PharmD program.
- Users age 18-25 primarily use mobile devices, laptops following in usage.
- If users interested in a grad program can't access 4 key pieces of information about a program within 2 minutes of using a mobile site, they would most likely not return to the site to apply on a laptop or desktop computer later on.
- The school was loosing to comparable schools who had already adopted mobile.
- Site had conflicting & duplicate pages, misrepresenting information about programs, dates, requirements.
Derek is interested in the PharmD Program. He was interested in something medical involving patient treatment, without blood or surgery. So becoming a pharmacist sounded appealing to him. He was interested in the University of Utah because he loves to ski and would like to move out to the west coast.
The easy to navigate steps keep the PharmD Program on his mind for the next few weeks. He goes back to the page at least once a week to check the dates (listed at the top of the page) for the next 4 weeks. On the second week, he bookmarks the page in his browser on his laptop. His bookmarks sync to his iPhone and he shows his peers who are also interested in out-of-state graduate programs.
Derek finds time during fall break to apply on his laptop. He finds the Transfer Student Information link easily from the same page to send an email to an advisor. He's impressed with the timely response and easy to use website.
He makes a visit to campus at the Skaggs Reseach Institute in Salt Lake City after he's accepted in the spring for a hands-on day with researchers and professors. He heard about the event from emails he started getting from the college. He chooses to attend the U's College of Pharmacy in the Fall. It was among 3 other top tier universities he was accepted to; including Stanford and Caltech.
This page is found within one click from the home page, and Derek can now see the three most prominent programs the college has to offer. He can now explore his options from one page.
I presented my research, persona, and designs to the college. The other half of the work would be the implementation of my designs, transferring, and editing content to fit inside new pages. But the most important concept I underlined was the use of a hamburger-style menu in the top left header and a large drawer-style menu. Besides cleaning up the design for mobile and even desktop, the drawer provides more space for organization and user identified pages right in the menu. This design choice led to more improvements in the UI.
Students, teachers, faculty, prospective students, and alumni will soon have access to a user friendly website that can now be used on mobile devices. Users won't have to dig through confusing menus and pages to find the information they are looking for. Prospective grad students can easily see what programs are available and read news about their prospective school. And the college will benefit from a larger applicant pool because there will be no confusion while trying to apply to the PharmD Program.
- Limited design influence within organization
- The University of Utah Heath Sciences marketing dept. limited changes to code
- Scope could have increased (ux and design related) if there were more designers and people on our small team
- Most of my time comprised of educating others about design and ux/ui principles
I helped build the College of Pharmacy's website. I started by evaluating the current website, then moved to a competitive analysis, finalizing in concept development, ideation, information architecture, and copy.
Timeline: 6 Months
Role: Research, Interface Design, Information Architecture, Concept Development & User Experience
Team: Gisel Gomez (Developer) & Mack Culp