I led the graduate recruitment team at Utah State University through a redesign of the School of Graduate Studies website. We started with usability testing and an analysis of user behavior data.
Usability tests were in-person, task-based think-alouds with new students, current students, international students, faculty, graduate program coordinators and School of Graduate Studies staff. Participants attempted three audience-specific tasks on both the live and dev sites.
To understand the prospective student experience, we recruited newly admitted graduate students to participate in testing and had them attempt three common tasks:
Task 1: Pretend you have never been to Utah State University and would like to see the campus before applying to grad school. Find out how to get started with planning your trip.
Task 2: Assume you have decided to apply for graduate school at Utah State. Starting from the home page, find out what you need to do in order to apply.
Task 3:You have been accepted into a graduate program and are interested in applying for scholarships. Starting at the home page, find information about scholarships for graduate students.
- Now that you found scholarship information, did you learn anything new about your funding options?
- What are your overall impressions of the website?
- Was there anything particularly confusing to you when using the website?
- Was there anything you thought was particularly helpful?
- Are there any specific changes you would recommend?
With a renewed focus on recruiting prospective graduate students, the new grad school site implements SEO best practices, design features and content created specifically for that audience. Content highlights for prospective students include an audience-specific landing page and action-based Discover USU, Find Your Degree, Visit Campus and Apply for Admission.