User research findings
University of Hull
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Agenda
• Introduction
• Persona introduction
• Your personas
• Content ideas
• Next steps
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Introduction
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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
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Project recap
• Activities (up to now):
– Desk research
– Kick-off meeting
– Interviews (stakeholders)
– Stakeholder workshops
– Interviews (user)
– Persona creation
– (Conceptual design)
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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
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Persona introduction
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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
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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”
“Who is your target
audience?”
“Which feature should we
de-scope first?”
“Everyone.”
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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
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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
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Personas are not...
• Every possible customer (a taxonomy or a customer
segmentation)
• A replacement for existing design, development and usability
processes
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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)
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Your personas
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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
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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.
Ambitious Ameera
“I want the best education for my
money”
Ameera Sajadi – 27 years old, Postgraduate
GOALS
• 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
student
BEHAVIOUR
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?
• 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
o League tables
o University websites / virtual tours
o Google/Google images
• Get some independent opinions about the courses
o Google to find previous or current students
o University websites
o Social networking sites
• Find information on visa requirements
o Google, university site
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.
Nervous Nathan
“I’m not sure if I should go to
university”
Nathan Douglas – 17 years old, living at home
GOALS
• Decide if university justifies the cost
• Find an interesting course
• Save money by living at home whilst going to a nearby
university
o Also ensure he stays close to friends
• Not too concerned about league tables as long as the course
is good
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?
BEHAVIOUR
• Find out if it’s worthwhile attending University
o Speak to his teachers and friends who have gone to
university
• Find the available courses in his area, and the grades needed
o UCAS site
• Check the course contents
• Get a “feel” for the university and talk to lecturers and
students
o University websites
o Open day
• Get a “take away” physical copy of information to show
parents
o Prospectus
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.
Busy Ben
GOALS
“Will the University be the right place
to go for the services we need?”
• Find out if the University can provide the services needed
Ben Houghton – 45 years old, marketing
manager
(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
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?
• No time to do in depth research, wants to get started quickly
o Google
o Key info source is website
• Short timelines, need to feel progress being made
o Need clear process to engage
o Need clear contact
• Sceptical of the ability of the University to do ‘real world’
work, will look for reassurance before engaging
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.
Friendly Fabian
“I want to be entertained at University”
Fabian Baker – 18 years old, Business studies
aspirant
GOALS
• 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
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?
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
o Google and university site
o Social networking sites
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.
Responsible dad Rob
“I want my son to have good quality
education with future prospects”
Rob Darwin – 40 years old, parent
GOALS
• 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
SITE INQUIRIES
• To ensure that the university is in a location that is safe and
friendly
What are the fees for this course?
What are the last year’s results like? How does that compare
to others?
BEHAVIOUR
• Shown the University sites by Jamie when discussing
university options
Will Jamie get a good job after this course?
• Read the university prospectus that Jamie brought home
What are the support services that Jamie will be given?
• Discussed possibilities with friends
For academic as well as personal development?
• Check University fees on site/prospectus
How is the teaching done? How much contact is there
between the lecturers and the students?
Are there any excursions/field trips?
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.
Academic Annie
GOALS
“I want to continue my research and
work at a good university”
• Continue her research
Annie Goodford – 32 years old,
lecturer/researcher
• 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
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?
• 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:
o Previous/Existing research projects done by the
department
o Her promotion prospects
o Other people at the department and their current and
previous work
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.
Start-up Sam
GOALS
“I need support to grow the business –
where can I get it?”
• Find out where to base their start-up
Samantha (Sam) Bell – 22 years old,
• 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)
entrepreneur
• This should be located near other like-minded people/startups
SITE INQUIRIES
• This should ideally be in a recognisable location
Does the University support fledgling businesses?
How? What expertise is available?
BEHAVIOUR
What facilities/premises are available?
• Interested to see what schemes (support and grants) are
available locally to aid start-ups
What other companies will be nearby?
What training’s available?
What events are happening?
• Will research possible options – ask friends, local contacts
• 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
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.
Alumni Alice
“I want to stay in contact with my old
friends”
Alice Fenchurch – 34 years old, freelance
translator
GOALS
• 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
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?
BEHAVIOUR
• Will visit the site to confirm/check arrangements for reunions
• Unlikely to visit the site any other time (without prompting)
How are personas used?
• Communication
– 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?”
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How are personas used?
Build up a matrix of the kinds of content
in different areas of the site that would
satisfy each persona
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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)
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Content ideas
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Content ideas
• Course information
–
–
–
–
–
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
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–
–
–
–
More information on social activities
Pictures/ virtual tour of university buildings, facilities
Pictures/ virtual tour of area / city
Safety
More info on local amenities
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Content ideas
• Additional services
– 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
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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
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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
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Alistair Gray
Senior Consultant
[email protected]
020 7423 6328
Pooja Chinnapattan
User Experience Consultant
[email protected]
020 7423 6338
Kerstin Exner
User Experience Consultant
[email protected]
020 7423 6320
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Presentation title - University of Hull