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User research findings

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1 User research findings
University of Hull

2 Agenda Introduction Persona introduction Your personas Content ideas
Next steps

3 Introduction

4 Project recap Objective: To review the external facing University of Hull website Feed in requirements of both the key stakeholders and external facing audiences Restructure the existing site information architecture Update page templates for key pages of the site

5 Project recap Activities (up to now): Desk research Kick-off meeting
Interviews (stakeholders) Stakeholder workshops Interviews (user) Persona creation (Conceptual design)

6 How we did the research Interviewed 18 existing/potential audience members in both London and Hull Prospective and existing undergrad and postgrad students Parents of prospective students Researchers Businesses Asked them to describe the process they went through/are going through selecting their university Asked about how they research and choose a university Asked for their impressions of researching on existing university websites Analysed data to produce personas

7 Persona introduction

8 What are personas? Personas are design decision making tools
They help people remain user-focused Personas help communicate user research They present research data in a way that can be easily understood and remembered

9 What are personas? “I’m a user and I think it should be green”
“Our key stakeholder believes this is the most important feature” “Will anyone actually use this?” “We know what our customers want” “Which feature should we de-scope first?” “Who is your target audience?” “Everyone.” Personas can help in all of these situations

10 What are personas? Characterisation or archetype of a single user group Personas help make design decisions Personas help communicate user research They present research data in a way that can be easily understood and remembered They build empathy and objectivity Personas have a name, photo and personal story A persona is not a real person (but they are based on a group of real people) Re-usable

11 Personas are... Fake people (concrete representations) based on real data, which provide context and motivation regarding goals, behaviours, and beliefs A practical tool to help prioritize features & maintain focus on target customers A vehicle for bringing customer goal and behaviour data to life

12 Personas are not... Every possible customer (a taxonomy or a customer segmentation) A replacement for existing design, development and usability processes

13 From interview data to draft personas
Analysis of interview data Affinity diagram (collating data onto post-it notes and organising it into intuitive and logical groupings)

14 Your personas

15 Assigning importance to personas
Primary personas: Those personas most representative of the largest proportion of visitors to the University of Hull website and/or most important to the University of Hull to fulfil it’s strategic plan Ambitious Ameera Nervous Nathan Busy Ben Friendly Fabian Secondary personas: Less representative of University of Hull site visitors but this persona still represents a set of related findings from the research Responsible dad Rob Academic Annie Start-up Sam Alumni Alice

16 “I want the best education for my money”
Ambitious Ameera “I want the best education for my money” Ameera Sajadi – 27 years old, Postgraduate student Ameera,  27,  lives in Delhi and works as a team supervisor in a medium sized service company. She thinks that a business MSc from a good university in Europe would look fantastic on her CV and enable her to get to higher management positions. Her employer is very supportive and has agreed to give here a year’s sabbatical to go and do a Masters degree abroad. She is keen to get the best value for her money, since for her this is a major investment. So she will research the university league tables to find the best business schools based in areas with a low cost of living. In addition to the courses, she compares student accommodation and support services for international students. In addition to researching the universities’ sites, she looks for some independent opinions from students to get a feeling for the place.

Getting the best education for the money Improve job prospects Go to a place that is not too big and offers some social activities to make friends more easily BEHAVIOUR Find out which universities in the UK are the best for business studies Find courses within her area of interest Get a better feeling for each university and its surrounding area Find out more about living in the UK in terms of cost, social life League tables University websites / virtual tours Google/Google images Get some independent opinions about the courses Google to find previous or current students University websites Social networking sites Find information on visa requirements Google, university site “I want the best education for my money” Ameera Sajadi – 27 years old, Postgraduate student SITE INQUIRIES What business courses are available? What is the course content? Course focus and modules, entry requirements, assessment methods, job prospects, additional opportunities for development of academic and profession skills What are the departments’ and lecturers’ research areas? What student accommodation is available and how can I get it? Can I see pictures of the facilities? Are there any support services for international students? What is the city like and where is the university located? What social activities are available? Is it safe for me to live there? What are the local amenities?

18 “I’m not sure if I should go to university”
Nervous Nathan “I’m not sure if I should go to university” Nathan Douglas – 17 years old, living at home Nathan lives at home with his mum and younger sister Sarah. He is currently doing his A levels and is thinking about going to university next year. He has a laptop and loves to play games on it and sometimes do a bit of programming. He is thinking about a career in software, but is not sure whether it is worth going to university or whether it may be better to start a job directly after school instead. He is a little nervous about the high cost associated with going to university. He would like to continue living at home, if he can find a suitable course nearby, as it would save a lot of money. In order to explore his options, Nathan will go to the UCAS website to find what computer science courses are offered, focusing on the universities in his area. He also plans to look for dates of open days because he wants to get a feeling for the universities.

Decide if university justifies the cost Find an interesting course Save money by living at home whilst going to a nearby university Also ensure he stays close to friends Not too concerned about league tables as long as the course is good BEHAVIOUR Find out if it’s worthwhile attending University Speak to his teachers and friends who have gone to university Find the available courses in his area, and the grades needed UCAS site Check the course contents Get a “feel” for the university and talk to lecturers and students University websites Open day Get a “take away” physical copy of information to show parents Prospectus “I’m not sure if I should go to university” Nathan Douglas – 17 years old, living at home SITE INQUIRIES When’s the next open day? What’s the overall course focus? What modules are in the course? Are there any optional modules/choices? What are the entry requirements? Is there any flexibility? How will I be assessed? What will I gain from going on this course? How do current students find the course? What could I do after the course? What’s the cost of living? How much should I expect to spend?

20 Busy Ben “Will the University be the right place to go for the services we need?” Ben Houghton – 45 years old, marketing manager Ben Houghton is a marketing manager at a moderate size food processing company. The company requires various services (that the University offers), but he is unsure if Hull offer them at all. The company is considering trying to push a healthy angle for some of their products. They’d like a clinical test to give some weight to their claims, but are a little unsure of the process and potential costs if they use the University. The company also needs to expand. Ben is considering using the University as a potential source of graduates, but needs reassurance that the students selected will be of sufficient quality. However due to his workload he can’t pay too much attention to the whole recruitment process – he’s looking to quickly bring in interns without having to “force the process” too much.

Find out if the University can provide the services needed (conduct a clinical test and source interns) Get in quick contact with the relevant person at the University Ideally, find a University to work with nearby BEHAVIOUR No time to do in depth research, wants to get started quickly Google Key info source is website Short timelines, need to feel progress being made Need clear process to engage Need clear contact Sceptical of the ability of the University to do ‘real world’ work, will look for reassurance before engaging “Will the University be the right place to go for the services we need?” Ben Houghton – 45 years old, marketing manager SITE INQUIRIES Does the University of Hull provide the services I need? Who do I speak to if I want to find out more details? Is there someone at the University who is a specialist in what I need? Would they be involved? Will the University be a suitable partner to work with? Does the university have any proven experience? – Case studies? Previous partnerships? Who else have they worked with? What will I gain from going to the University for my service? Where is the University building/meeting room I need to go to? If I want to bring in an intern, what’s the process? What other services does the University offer?

22 “I want to be entertained at University”
Friendly Fabian “I want to be entertained at University” Fabian Baker – 18 years old, Business studies aspirant Fabian is 18 years old and lives in Birmingham. He is finishing his A levels and wants to do an undergraduate degree in business. He is researching the league tables for universities that offer courses in Business with the entry requirements he feel he can achieve. Since many universities offer this he wants to make sure he chooses the right course for him. Fabian will assess the course content from different universities with his parents before making a decision. Fabian is going to be living away from home for the first time and he wants to know what it’s like to live in the University accommodation. Fabian is very sociable. He is interested in finding out more about the events and other student activities in the university, and knowing more about area he will be living in as well as the city as a whole.

To choose a course that best suited to him Know as much information as possible about the area near the university and the city Know more information about social life and events on campus Find out about the university accommodation BEHAVIOUR Will visit university during open days and enquire if he will be allowed to see the university accommodation Visit the union site to see the social activities of students Will research online for various things to do in Hull Google and university site Social networking sites “I want to be entertained at University” Fabian Baker – 18 years old, Business studies aspirant SITE INQUIRIES What is the course content like? Course modules, entry requirements, job prospects What is the university accommodation like? Who will I live with? Are they halls or houses? What are the costs like? Are there added living costs? If so, how much? What kind of events take place on the university campus? Is there a sports complex in the university? What societies are active at the university? What is it like to live in Hull? What makes Hull interesting for students? What local facilities/amenities are there?

24 “I want my son to have good quality education with future prospects”
Responsible dad Rob “I want my son to have good quality education with future prospects” Rob Darwin – 40 years old, parent Rob is the father of 17 year old Jamie who wants to go to university. He wants reassurance from the university that his son will be in safe hands and will be given quality education. Rob hasn’t been to a university before so he wants his son to get the best possible university education. He has thoroughly read through the prospectuses that Jamie has shown. Rob wants Jamie to get a good education wherever he goes, he also wants to see previous years’ results and department performance. Rob is curious about the teachers, their credentials, teaching methods and the facilities his son will be able to use if he joins the university. Since the fee has increased from this year Rob is curious to know how the university is planning to justify this hike. He wants to know if they have anything more to offer than the previous years.

To support Jamie in choosing where to study To ensure that Jamie has good education To find out about the course outcomes and future prospects To support Jamie emotionally and monetarily at University To ensure that the university is in a location that is safe and friendly BEHAVIOUR Shown the University sites by Jamie when discussing university options Read the university prospectus that Jamie brought home Discussed possibilities with friends Check University fees on site/prospectus “I want my son to have good quality education with future prospects” Rob Darwin – 40 years old, parent SITE INQUIRIES What are the fees for this course? What are the last year’s results like? How does that compare to others? Will Jamie get a good job after this course? What are the support services that Jamie will be given? For academic as well as personal development? How is the teaching done? How much contact is there between the lecturers and the students? Are there any excursions/field trips?

26 “I want to continue my research and work at a good university”
Academic Annie “I want to continue my research and work at a good university” Annie Goodford – 32 years old, lecturer/researcher Annie is 32 years old and strongly feels that pursuing a career in academia is right for her. She has a position teaching and researching at a local former polytechnic university. She’s been told by a friend about a position at the University of Hull, and is thinking about applying. Annie is looking for a university and a department that ranks higher in the league tables and research ranking scores than her current. Annie also wants to be associated with a reputed university as it will attract good students and would give her lots of time and opportunities to conduct her research. She wants to be working in an exciting research environment, with other academics actively involved in research. Annie understands that her research may be department funded initially but in the long term she wants to be able to do high profile research projects which are industry or government funded.

27 Academic Annie GOALS BEHAVIOUR SITE INQUIRIES Continue her research
Find a good and reputed university for her research studies Wants to be given the freedom and time for her research and be able to publish her own papers Obtain external funding/grants to carry out her research Become a well-known academic in her field, get published and speak at conferences BEHAVIOUR Main point of contact for information are friends and colleagues in academia Previously researched the league tables to find the best universities for her research studies When considering a university she wants to know about: Previous/Existing research projects done by the department Her promotion prospects Other people at the department and their current and previous work “I want to continue my research and work at a good university” Annie Goodford – 32 years old, lecturer/researcher SITE INQUIRIES What kind of research projects has the department done previously/currently? What was the scale of the projects done? How active/busy is the department? For example, how often does it host events, conferences, or talks? Who are the other staff in the department or in the university who I can collaborate with? What are their profiles like? If I would like to get in touch with them, where can I get their contact information? Can I take a research sabbatical from teaching? What’s the selection process if I did apply for the job?

28 “I need support to grow the business – where can I get it?”
Start-up Sam “I need support to grow the business – where can I get it?” Samantha (Sam) Bell – 22 years old, entrepreneur Sam has just left a job in the marketing department for a multinational computer software development company. She’d only worked there for a few months after leaving University, but she didn’t enjoy herself. She and a friend want to try setting up their own digital marketing business instead. Sam and her business partner are looking for potential offices in which to base their company. They like the idea of setting up in a University, as they think they’d feel at home there (having only recently left university themselves). She also thinks it will be easier to organise meetings, as the University is such a recognised landmark. However they are open to other possibilities, and are looking elsewhere. The biggest factor for them is support – there are various aspects of business that are foreign/mysterious to them, and so they’re looking for somewhere where they can get support and guidance.

Find out where to base their start-up Looking for potential further support – access to all the knowledge that Sam and her business partner don’t have (without having to pay over the odds for it) This should be located near other like-minded people/start-ups This should ideally be in a recognisable location BEHAVIOUR Will research possible options – ask friends, local contacts Interested to see what schemes (support and grants) are available locally to aid start-ups Happy to look at offices elsewhere, cost will be a crucial factor in selecting a base, but can be affected by what support is offered “I need support to grow the business – where can I get it?” Samantha (Sam) Bell – 22 years old, entrepreneur SITE INQUIRIES Does the University support fledgling businesses? How? What expertise is available? What facilities/premises are available? What other companies will be nearby? What training’s available? What events are happening?

30 “I want to stay in contact with my old friends”
Alumni Alice “I want to stay in contact with my old friends” Alice Fenchurch – 34 years old, freelance translator Alice is a 34 years old freelance translator. She graduated from the University of Hull’s combined language course in 2005 after studying French and Spanish. She needs to stay in contact with her fellow graduates for 2 reasons – social contact to make sure she stays in contact with her friends from the course, and networking, to ensure people are aware of her current position, so she is remembered if any translation contacts appear. She’s curious to see how her old lecturers are getting on, the coming and going from the University, and what significant changes are being made to the University as a whole.

31 Alumni Alice GOALS BEHAVIOUR SITE INQUIRIES Keep up with old friends
Be informed of any significant changes to the university, or the faculty of arts and social science, specifically the department of modern languages Use the network of former graduates to find new jobs/find good applicants for jobs in her company BEHAVIOUR Will visit the site to confirm/check arrangements for reunions Unlikely to visit the site any other time (without prompting) “I want to stay in contact with my old friends” Alice Fenchurch – 34 years old, freelance translator SITE INQUIRIES [Unsure how likely Alice is to visit the University website without prompting] When is the next reunion? Where will it be? Are there any photos from the previous reunion? How are my old lecturers? Where have they got to?

32 How are personas used? Communication Strategy Design
Communicating memorable research findings across the organisation Ensuring everyone in the organisation has the same image in their head when they say ‘user’ Strategy Checking ideas “Is what we’re planning suitable?” Design Aid design decisions (suitability checking) “Is what we’ve designed suitable?”

33 How are personas used? Build up a matrix of the kinds of content in different areas of the site that would satisfy each persona

34 For your personas to be a success
Understood (what they are and what they are not) Trusted (buy-in needed) Remembered (keep them fresh in your mind, become familiar with them) Used & talked about (build them into existing work practices) Maintained & validated (keep them up to date)

35 Content ideas

36 Content ideas Course information Life in Hull
Individual module content Clear overview of teaching style and assessment methods Benefits of a course / job prospects / career options History of results / comparison to other courses Excursions / field trips / facilities used Life in Hull More information on social activities Pictures/ virtual tour of university buildings, facilities Pictures/ virtual tour of area / city Safety More info on local amenities

37 Content ideas Additional services Research
Information on additional academic and personal development services Support services for students Research Consistent and up-to-date information on research areas and people Overview of past and current research projects including funding information Researchers’ profiles Department’s presence at conferences and events Information on sabbaticals

38 Content ideas Businesses
Clear overview of services offered for businesses Search for specific area of expertise (crosslink to research section?) Case studies / previous partnerships for credibility Services and training opportunities for new businesses Calendar/ Overview of events for businesses Highlighting other businesses for collaboration

39 Next steps Interaction design (Concepts, Wireframes)
Use personas to help continue conceptual design of key pages Use personas to decide website features Keep the personas alive Future research to refresh them Build upon them (e.g. include mobile research) Always use them when making design decisions User testing of designs

40 Thank you Alistair Gray Pooja Chinnapattan Kerstin Exner
Senior Consultant Pooja Chinnapattan User Experience Consultant Kerstin Exner User Experience Consultant

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