SJSU Online

In August 2022, San Jose State University launched SJSU Online, the university's online bachelor degree completion program. As the only designer on our small marketing team, I was tasked with designing a modern, intuitive, and informative website that supports prospective students in their decision to apply to SJSU Online.
As the only UX Designer on the team, I spearheaded the visual design, layout designs, UI component designs, content strategy, and SEO in order to create an optimal experience for users. I also synthesized analytics and performed some user testing to understand user needs.
Increased Engagement Rate by 17%
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What is SJSU Online?

SJSU Online is San Jose State University's 100% online degree-completion initiative that helps students who experience unexpected life changes by giving them another opportunity to finish what they started.

Problem Statement

The website is a prospective students' #1 resource for choosing colleges. We aimed to design a website that was supportive and visually driven, in order to ultimately create an engaging and motivating experience for our users.

The Starting Point

Before our team was created, our stakeholder worked with a vendor to created page templates with modular UI components. They then hired a marketing director and content manager to flesh out the site map and content.

SJSU Online's web template before I was brought onto the team.

Conceptualizing a Brand Narrative

My first task was to reimagine the visual direction of our site. I took the universities existing brand and conceptualized a sub-brand with a narrative that resonates with our audience of adult learners.

Supporting Media

I envisioned our site to be filled with the faces of who our users could be. When the first SJSU Online cohort graduated, I helped coordinate a photo and video shoot to produce media for our website, including a hero video.

Insight After Launch

After launching, I did a number of things to gain insight on how to improve our website, such as conducting user testing, surveys, and analyzed heatmaps and scroll maps to learn about how our users behaved on our website.

Honing in on Content

Our main focus was to hone in our content: hone in on the content our users need, remove all information our users do not need, and house that information in UI components that are engaging and easier to read.

Not only did I think about what information we should be presenting, but how we should be presenting them. I explored different ways we should organize content on our site and new possibilities to how we can present them in a refreshing and simple way.

The Results

Designed for an Informative and Exciting Experience

Each page is designed to be a seamless, informative, inspiring, and motivating experience with the users interests and needs put first. I incorporated our brand into the look and feel of the website while prioritizing accessibility.

Expanded a Modular UI Ecosystem

Our site relied on word heavy, dense content. After shaving unnecessary content out, I designed and coded more reusable UI components to help highlight our content even more and give our site a refreshing look and easier reading experience.

Redesigned Promo Component: mostly used to promote virtual info sessions, which usually helps leads apply.
Centered Callout Component: It provides a visual break from scrolling with a wider max width, and provides information that can be highlighted easily.
Tall Cards Component: I designed this component for users to continue exploring our website.
Featured Component: Another way of presenting information in a refreshing way. Similar to the Centered Callout Component, but it can be used for with videos, which our pages tend to have a lot of.
Redesigned RFI Component: We use an embedded RFI form from our CRM. Initially, The design of the RFI form was underwhelming. I spruced it up with a photo background and different type treatment .
Apply Now Modal: Our team went back and forth on what link the "Apply Now" CTA should lead to: a page that helps users apply, or the website that users actually apply to. This modal gives users the option to choose where they want to go depending on their needs.

Web Governance and Content Strategy

When working with a variety of people who want content on the website, I made sure content was curated for the main objective of the website.

Increase in Engagement

Since the site launched, many design experiments were made for each page to improve its design. After each enrollment cycle, SJSU Online evolved into a more engaging experience for prospective students.

17% increase in engagement rate in comparison to previous year of enrollment cycle.

Key Takeaways

  • Working independently: Being the only designer on this project was a challenge to me, especially since this was one of the first projects I worked on since graduating college. I had to adapt to figuring things out on my own and create a process that worked for me.
  • Experimenting is fun and worth it: SJSU Online went through a series of iterations. Little by little, I found what what users were interested and what kind of designs worked better for them.