IUSVE (Istituto Universitario Salesiano Venezia) currently based in Venice and Verona was born in 1990. IUSVE is not just the client of this project but it is also the University where I studied design for five years.
During the course of “Cultural Anthropology of the Digital Media”, we had the chance to analyze IUSVE’s website from a UX point of view. Even if the website was just been redesigned, we noticed that it wasn’t following any UX rule and worst it wasn’t meeting user’s needs. It was just a mute website and wasn’t giving anything new in terms of need from the previous version. The main goal was then to design a new version of the website taking into account user’s needs applying the principles of User Centered Design (UCD).
As part of a team, I was in charge of the User Researches, the flow of interaction, the Wireframes/Low fidelity mockup and the visual design of the User Interface. For what concerns the concept and the brainstorming I prefer to do this all together to stimulate ideas.
Since we are all students at IUSVE it wasn’t necessary any preliminary research since we were already familiar with it. We could directly jump into the brand identity analysis through Kapferer’s model.
Thanks to the Kapferer prism and a brainstorming we were able to identify all the values and keyword linked to IUSVE. To be consistent the signifier linked to those words must emerge from all the touchpoints and more specifically the website.
We then proceeded with a SWOT analysis in order to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Keeping in mind that threats can be switched to opportunities and opportunities into strength. We then developed a benchmark, in order to identify the main competitors and their website and set IUSVE on a positioning map. From a communication point of view, we noticed a general lack of concern in the website design and in the management of the social media. This could be an interesting opportunity for IUSVE to invest in the development of an innovative website and exceeding the competitors.
To start with the User Research we developed a questionnaire in order to identify in detail our target. We have given the questionnaire to a small number of people to have control over the output generated by the answers. From an anthropological point of view, it's more interesting to work on small samples in order to work closely with the target.
Thanks to the questionnaire we were able to identify the main user categories:
In support our previous target research and to identify target’s needs, we decided to conduct interviews for each target category identified in the preliminary analysis. We decided to undertake the Think Aloud method presenting the user a task and a scenario.Since it is important for the success of the interview that the user doesn’t feel obsessed, we decided to amplify the shadowing technique by recording user’s screen. From interviews, we noticed a general inability for users to completely retrieve all the information because of the deep site map and the unintuitive labels.
Thanks to this preliminary research on the target we were able to find out their objectives and needs according to the website. We were also able to cluster our target according to their age, origin, language, actual situation in terms of economic independence. This brought out very interesting things like for example that future students need to have more detailed info on the accommodations. Or that actual student would like to have everything they need on the website without having to go personally to the campus because most of them live far away.
We decided not to use the classic personas model or the empathy map and to test another method dividing the target into broader categories according to their attitudes. By expanding the segments it is possible to cover a larger area of analysis. All the previous analysis and researches allowed us to identify the macro areas, corresponding to the possible attitudes towards content navigation, in which to classify the users:
Following this first phase of analysis was a brainstorming where all the main keywords regarding IUSVE’s Brand Identity, Brand Image, and some internal and external target features emerged. Everything was then represented in a semantic map. The groups of words emerged will be the guiding concepts for the project.
Before going on with the actual website design, we had to identify the main goals and the related strategy.
1. Understandable & Up-to-date;
2. Increased traffic to the website;
3. Useful, it must become the student's point of reference;
4. Enrollments increase;
5. Becoming an International Website;
6. Increase of company agreements.
After having the initial research completed we could proceed with the trend analysis and the design of the website itself.
Language Requirements: The contents of the website must be understandable to everyone since we are addressing to a very heterogeneous target, with different levels of education and nationalities.
It is crucial that the graphic elements convey IUSVE’s identity, more specifically:
The university is already doing once a year a photo shoot, having as subject real students. This allows us to have an original and authentic repertoire of pictures.
Since IUSVE identity is characterized by the red colour, we will have to use it in the visual design of the website but without exaggerating. Below are the colours used to differentiate the different departments:
Thanks to the user interview we improved and streamlined the navigation by putting the information where the users expect to find them. We also gathered the two existing students platforms in a single one, in order to avoid confusion on where to find personal documents.