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Usability: Achieving it on a Limited Budget With an Apprehensive Administration

A talk by J.S. at edUI 2013

About the Talk

November 4, 2013 6:15 AM

Richmond, VA

Richmond, VA

As talented web professionals, we know best practices for how content should be created as well as how digital products should be designed and delivered, but we often have to convince our colleagues in other departments or disciplines of these truths. As change agents, it is our job to innovate and lead, despite the financial or cultural obstacles we face in our institutions.

Follow the yearlong efforts of the marketing staff at American University’s Kogod School of Business as they worked to improve the usability of their digital communications for prospective and current students. First up? The school’s website.

Among the strategies employed were:

Focus groups
Usability studies (first conducted in June 2012, then a follow-up study done in June 2013)
Card sorting
The involvement of administrators, staff and faculty

With findings in hand, the team informed admissions colleagues and faculty program directors in order to secure approval. Changes were slowly and meticulously implemented to the business school’s website, email newsletters and advertising landing pages. Initial outcomes were shared with these audiences after three months; work continued on interior webpages. In the summer of 2013, a follow-up usability study was conducted, incorporating more of the business school’s communications channels (advertising landing pages and admissions emails, in addition to the Kogod website).

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