Stanaway Education

A private education consultant's website, used to deliver messages about credibility

Overview

Susan Stanaway runs a successful private education consulting business. The flexible nature is a competitive edge over formulaic public agencies, but the client relies on word-of-mouth referrals because it is harder to establish trust for an at-home business.

The overarching project goal was to create a website that could assist in demonstrating professionalism, success rate, and build trust for potential students. A secondary goal was to engage and inform existing students with news and updates.
Role & Duration

UX Researcher
Webflow, Figma, Adobe XD, Photoshop, TypeForm, Survey Design & Analysis, Wireframes, Interviews

Duration: 
3 months

The Research Process

01

Discover

02

Explore 

03

Test

04

Listen

Stage 1 | Discovery

Problem Statement

While word-of-mouth referrals have driven business for years, the client seeks to address wariness regarding trust, credentials, and success rate for a wide range of potential students.

Research Questions

Methodology

75% rated "testimonials and reviews" most important for establishing trust

When price was not an obstacle, 43% chose "success rate" as most important decision making factor

Survey

I created a Typeform survey to get numerical ratings on factors important for trust and the final decision to hire a consultant.

I left an empty field for more insight and no user brought a new factor to my attention (perhaps due to bias from the survey, but with limited time, I will address this in a future iteration).

A study on 221 participants' perceptions of website trustworthiness supported the findings that social factors (testimonials) build trust while poor design (hiding the price) creates distrust.

Trust and Distrust on the Web

Stage 2 | Explore

Open Card Sort

I combined features that the client specifically wanted to include with sections users considered important to create a list of possible sections and subsections using Optimal Sort.

User Segmentation

I divided users into three categories: high school students, transfer/other students, and parents. I found that transfer students cared the most about price and parents cared most about success.

Persona

I created a persona for the most likely seeker of Susan's services. A rising high school student who would benefit from a non-formulaic approach

User Journey

I used a user journey to organize how common pain points can be addressed.

Stage 3 | Test

A Case for Parallax Websites

If literature reveals that poor design and concealment of information creates distrust, then a trustworthy website should make information easy to find and remove unnecessary distractions. A parallax website, if done well, can narrate a story in a specific order and emphasize the most crucial information.

"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." 
Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Lo-Fidelity Wireframes


I created lo-fidelity wireframes using Adobe XD emphasizing lots of website. The intention was to make a parallax website that presented only the most important information in order starting with credentials and ending in testimonials.

Prototype

I am currently in the process of creating an mp4 visual to embed.



Stage 4 | Listen

Feedback

While the parallax design was easy to navigate, having a static navigation at the top of the website was later added because users make decisions in seconds. Especially when comparing several consultants at the same time, some may prefer to get right to the specific information.

Project Learnings

Establishing Trust
This case study emphasized how much clients and their respective users care about establishing trust. Within the user experience literature, there is a lot of support that trust is built by social factors while distrust is created by poor design (failure to be upfront about price).

Parallax Websites
This project demonstrated the value of clean single paged scrolling websites in organizing hierarchical information. I also learned that while "less is more" in creating a good user experience, this quest can lead to removing essential information if decisions are not made carefully.