Apply EBP

Role

UX Research

UI Design

Apply EBP provides continuing education seminars to pediatric physical and occupational therapists.  After conversations with the client, our goal was to make the site more appropriate for their audience and to make it easier to understand and navigate.  Based on research that included user interviews, competitive analysis, and a heuristics evaluation, we found that Apply EBP had all of the information that users needed and that was on similar websites.  However, the biggest issue with the site was that it lacked credibility with new and current users.

 

There was a disconnect between the experience users had at the seminar and what they experienced online.  This became the focus of our project - improving the credibility of the site. We did this by redesigning their website to follow industry best practices, give users a more controllable search function, make course sign up easier, and improve the overall site UI.  

Process
 
Research

User Interviews

Usability Testing

Heuristic Analysis

Competitive Analysis

Synthesis

Affinity Mapping

Persona Creation

Design

Low Fi Sketches

Mid Fi Wireframes

Testing & Handoff

Hi fi Prototype

Usability Testing

Spec Doc

Stakeholder Presentation

Journey Mapping

Project Objectives

1.  Make the primary components of the user’s journey within the site more obvious -- create an easier experience for them

2.  Redesign the current website’s aesthetic to be more tailored to his audience

Research
 

We wanted to understand what prompted users to go to Apply EBP’s website and what information they were looking for once they got there.  We also wanted to get a sense of how Apply EBP stacked up to their competitors and industry best practices.

User Interviews

We spoke with 6 users who have previously interacted with the website.  We asked them questions specific to the site, as well as questions pertaining to their internet shopping habits.  We hoped to uncover what was important to them when buying something, in this case, a seminar (cost, topic, location, etc.).   Our goal through interviews was to understand their behaviors and challenges with the ApplyEBP site. 

"If I'm going to take a continuing ed course, I need to know everything about it and if it'll be worth my time.  I'm going to read all the info on the page"

-- Apply EBP User

Usability Testing

The people interviewed were all already familiar with the company and the site but we wanted to determine how first time users would navigate the site and complete tasks.  We ran usability tests with 4 users who had no knowledge of Apply EBP.  

We asked...

...What is your first impression of the site?

0 users understood the site's purpose

25% of users felt it to be trustworthy

All users expected navigation to be at the top

We asked...

...Sign up for a course on Autism

:48 Average time to sign up for a course

Heuristic Analysis

We utilized the Abby Method to look at the most important pages on the site, evaluating things like credibility, clarity, find-ability, delightfulness, learnability, controllability, and value.

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 9.08.58 AM.png

The biggest issues were in its communication, usability, find-ability, and delight.  It performed well in value and learnability, meaning that it had information users were looking for and once learned, people could navigate the site.

We now had clear areas defined that required improvement.  We knew to focus on communication, usability, findability, and delight and had a framework to keep in mind as we designed.

Competitive Analysis

We compared 18 features across 3 competitors to see if there were any features users saw at other sites but not Apply EBP.

screencapture-educationresourcesinc-cour

(Education Resources Inc. Course Search)

(Therapeutic Services Inc. Course Search)

(Summit Education Course Search)

Apply EBP has all of the features and information that competitors have.  The few features they do not have such as webinars are not part of their business at this time.  Interestingly, Apply EBP has a Calendar of Events that some of their competitors do not.  From our user interviews, we found that users often need to find seminars that fit within their schedule, whether that's on weekends or during scheduled time off. 

Key Research Takeaways

1. Interviews and testing found that users have trouble finding courses to sign up for that fit their criteria. 

2. Heuristic evaluation found issues in usability, clarity, and accessibility.  

3. The site contains all of the information and features that its competitors have and that users are looking for. 

4. Difficulty in use coupled with a poor UI, gives the site an overall lack of credibility with its users.  

Synthesis

With the research completed, we had a better understanding of Apply EBP's typical user.  Research was distilled into a persona who would guide the rest of our design process.

 
User Persona
Frame 5 (2).png
Journey Map

How might we...

...help users find a course on Apply EBP that suits their professional and scheduling needs?

Design

With our key research findings in mind, our goal was to make sure the users knew where to find information and present it in a way that would make sense to them.  We started by redesigning key pages (Home, About, Courses) as determined by number of page views.

 
Low Fi Sketches

The design process kicked off with a Design Studio aimed at generating multiple ideas for the key pages being redesigned.  Through this collaboration, we were able to come up with ideas that made it into the redesign of Apply EBP.  

Mid-Fi Wireframes

Paper sketches were a way for us to quickly and efficiently get ideas down on paper of what our designs would look like.  The next step was to increase the fidelity and bring some more life into the redesign.  We made sure while designing to keep our research findings front and center while balancing the business goals of Apply EBP.  

Apply EBP's Mission Statement was moved to the top of the page to provide clarity to users of what the company does and stands for. 

Upcoming courses were moved up to support their business goal of getting people registered for courses.  Cards displaying key course info were utilized to create a cleaner and more modern look.​

Based on conversations with Apply EBP's owner and users this is a good source of industry information.  Therefore, we wanted to provide access to the blog right on the home page.  

Desktop Homepage (1).png

Mid-Fi Wireframe: Home Screen (Desktop)

Research uncovered that users look for courses based on 3 different criteria.  Filters were added to allow users to control how courses are displayed

Titles and topics covered by each course was unclear to users.  We added topics to the top of each section to help clarify for users what each course is about.  

All key information for users is displayed in a quick snapshot. Cards show Course Name, Date offered, location, and a brief overview. 

Desktop Course_ Topic.png

Mid-Fi Wireframe: Courses Screen (Desktop)

Key course information is prominently displayed at the top of the page along with a course brochure which users told us they like having access to.  

Research indicated that the pages had "an endless scroll" to them.  In order to remedy this, we added tabs to organize information about the course.

User interviews told us that reviews factored into their decision making process.

Course Detail.png

Mid-Fi Wireframe: Course Description (Desktop)

Testing & Handoff

Although we felt good about our design decisions, we tested them with users to see if we were meeting our project objectives.  Tests on our mid-fi prototype revealed issues that needed resolution before increasing to our hi-fi mockups.  Once in order, we presented our findings and solutions to Apply EBP.  

 
Usability Testing: Mid Fi Wireframes

We conducted usability tests on the mid-fi wireframes to see how we were doing in accomplishing the project goals.  We ran the same tests on these wireframes that we used on the original site in order to maintain consistency.  This consistency provided a benchmark against which we could measure progress and success.  New participants were utilized to avoid any biases.

We asked...

...What is your first impression of the site?

33% of users understood the site's purpose

We asked...

...Sign up for a course on Autism

33% of users were unable to find a course

Changes to Hi-Fi 

Based on testing our mid-fi prototype, there were still a lot of changes that needed to be made.  It was still not immediately clear what the purpose of the site was and how to sign up for content-specific courses. 

 

Homepage

  • Primary navigation relocated to the top of the page

  • Moved the mission statement to overlay the image

  • Reduced the size of the hero image

  • Brough “upcoming courses” above the fold so users would immediately understand the purpose of ApplyEBP 

Courses 

  • Created a card for each topic and included date and location info on each 

  • Reduce the number of cards, and therefore, scrolling that users complained about during our interviews

  • Once a user selects a topic that interests them, they can buy tickets based on location or date  

Usability Testing: Hi-Fi Mockups

We asked...

...What is your first impression of the site?

100% of users interviewed found the site credible and effective in conveying the purpose of the site 

We asked...

...Sign up for a course on Autism

:17 Average time to sign up for a course - down 65% vs. Original design

Revisiting Project Objectives

Looking again at our objectives from the beginning of this project, we felt that we achieved our goals. 

1.  Make the primary components of the user’s journey within the site more obvious -- create an easier experience for them​​​

  • Implemented new ways to organize and sort the content to alleviate users navigation challenges

  • Reduced time on task for course sign up in hopes of driving business​​​

2.  Redesign the current website’s aesthetic to be more tailored to his audience

  • Updated look to have a more modern feel and improved accessibility

  • Implementing industry best practices to help improve Apply EBP's credibility. 

Final Thoughts & Handoff

A disconnect existed between what users experience at the in-person seminars versus what they experienced on the company's website.  Overall, those who had attended Apply EBP courses found the content to be valuable and credible but that same sentiment did not come through on the website.  The team at Apply EBP was presented with our findings and provided a spec doc in order to implement our recommendations.  

By updating the look to have a more modern feel and implementing industry best practices, we were able to immediately help improve Apply EBP's credibility.  We also implemented new ways to organize and sort the content on the site to alleviate the challenges users faced in navigating the site to find the information they needed.  Reducing time on task will allow Apply EBP to create a more seamless sign up process and drive business.