Create an enjoyable application process from start to submit while balancing the needs of the business (security, demographic data, & payments), the user experience (form usability, feedback loops, & improved user interface), and the requirements of the University partners (qualitative review, invoicing, & customization).
One of the major pain points of pursuing an education or going back to school for students is the process of applying. Even though the majority of schools and universities use some type of online application process, these forms continue to perpetuate out-dated UI’s, burdensome functionality, and poor user experience. We set out to create an easy-to-use and mobile-ready application for students to do on the fly at their convenience while also meeting the requirements of universities and HIPAA privacy laws.
There is no better place to begin a project than with the user. By better understanding the person who will actually use these products (as opposed to relying on assumptions and biases), we can better design our products. Empathizing with our user included conducting a full content analysis across our eight different application types, creating a student emotion map, conducting in-person & remote user interviews, and doing a deep-dive into our data analytics.
Initial designs were discussed and thought through via paper sketches, whiteboarding sessions with the engineering team, and prototypes built in Keynote & Invision.
Student Emotion Journey:
User Flow & Task Analysis:
A critical element of this redesign was to study and analyze all our available data channels. We chose to use a combination of Google Analytics, heatmaps, scrollmaps, and funnel conversions in order to create a full picture of our existing user behavior and habits. We then used this information to lead our overall design direction.
After collecting the data and presenting the findings to the leadership and engineering teams, it was time to test out our ideas on one the applications to use for testing purposes. What you see here, is our own Guild application.
We've added friendlier copy to build trust, created mid-application breaks to accommodate a longer application process, and a more approachable user interface.
One of our biggest challenges was to create an architecturally uniform, yet flexible, application that served our many university programs. Working closely with our Visual Designer, Front End Developer, and Back End Developers, we were able to accommodate for these requirements and improve the user’s experience which we verified through testing.
As the designs evolved, so did the need to fully visualize the features and components as deliverable to our engineering team. A good example of that was the motion design of our button confirmation which provided input resolution to our applicants that each question was being accepted and saved as they went through the application process.
Preliminary mobile designs integrating the application into our student dashboard: