© 2019 by Sonali Rai

NUS Business School

NUS Business School is the business school of the National University of Singapore.

For our Project I and my Team had chosen to Re-design the Information Architecture for their website.

Our Target was to improve the process that prospective students need to go through in discovering courses and

locating essential course information.

My Role

 Tools

Ux Designer, Ux Researcher, Information Architect

  • Card Sort

  • Tree Test

  • Usability Testing

  • Content Audit

  • Axure

  • Invison for Responsive Design

Site Evaluation

We started with a thorough Content Audit

It took us a long time to just go through the website, there was an overload of information and it was quite hectic navigating from one place to another.

 

this is what it revealed:

-6 levels of information

-Multiple pages with the same URL

- Some pages had bad URL which did not load

The drawbacks of the existing site

Organization: the home was 5 long scrolls, it was too cluttered with too many pictures, media events, research articles etc. 

Labeling: There were ambiguous labels like Prospective Students and Current Students. So if someone were looking for a new course but was an existing student where would they have to go to?

Mystery Meat: there were sub menus like L3 short courses/ GANO to which there was no reference or description unless you actually clicked them or googled them out.

Navigation: Primary Navigation has 8 buttons which has further drop down lists. And also there were 2 navigation bars.

(pic of existing site)

Research

We did a Heuristic Evaluation of our direct and indirect competitors Harvard, 
Linkedin Learning, NTU, Coursera, SMU, Ngee Ann, INSEAD, DrWealth

Before we could do more research we had to define our research objective. The NUS business school website catered to new students, existing students and staff.

We decided to narrow down our focus to Prospective Students.  

And these were generally what a Prospective Student looked at:

  • Basic Navigation

  • Finding Courses

  • Course related crucial information- Fees, Application Deadlines, Duration, Curriculum, Exchange programs offered for those courses

The first week was entirely dedicated to research, we used 3 methods to do that:

A) Usability testing (done only on prospective students): this was done for all 3 iterative rounds, 5 users each time, we asked these users to give us their education background, and we gave them tasks to check which part of the website needed a lift.

B) Card Sort we did a 47 open card sort with 23 users, but it was not conclusive as we did not see any consistent pattern in the way this info was arranged.

C) Tree Test we did a tree test for our main tasks, with 20 users. These results were quite conclusive, it helped us with where the users went looking when they looked at a specific task.

Synthesis

We synthesised from the Usability Test results with :

A Rainbow spreadsheet, 

The Number of prompts needed for each task, 

An SUS Sheet after each round of testing 

 

This is what we observed: 

 

Primary Navigation 

Users had to assume which navigation button would lead them to the Information they need

 

Finding Courses

Users got confused with the short courses NUS offered. When asked to find a course, they looked under- Executive Education, L3 short courses, Summer Programs and Experiential Learning. 

  • The Executive Ed was in depth programmes to develop leadership capabilities and strategic thinking, aimed at mid to senior level managers. 

  • L3 was short for lifelong learning, this was more a skills based learning lasting between 1 to 2 days, aimed at junior level executives.

  • The Summer Program page had only 1 course. 

  • Experiential learning was not even a course, it was more like an enrichment experience in the way of activities and programs for the current students.

Finding Course related Info

Users thought that content was too heavy on certain pages.

User had to click in and see if course has subsidies available.

Users were distracted by the graphics in the content area, and instinctively scrolled down, missing the navigation bar

Re-Design

We came up with a modified site map. In this new sitemap, we did not delete any information. Rather we just rearranged all the information. And renamed some of the labels.

Home Page-reduced to 2 scrolls,

took off the collage, most of the events and news feed

Primary Navigation Bar- reduced buttons from 8 to 4,

made the dropdown menu,

Reshuffled navigation and broke it down into clear categories

  • Programme Navigation We categorised the courses from executive education, L3 short courses and Summer Programmes under 1 big umbrella called Short Courses alongwith a brief description next to the category so the users knew what it was about. We put Experiential Learning under student life, so users didn’t think it was a programme offered. 

  • Course Page we made it more concise, put in more bulleted points, and infographics to make it more visually appealing. Created a sidebar to consolidate relevant information and Highlighted main points in the banner 

  • Search Bar we made a more elaborate search function for users to look for courses

The final design was only established, after 3 rounds and a SUS rating at the end of each testing

1st Round : SUS Score 44

2nd Round: 

3rd Round: SUS Score 91.5

 

We also made a responsive mobile design for the home page and the MBA page

My Reflection

We could definitely develop and do more testing, especially on the mobile responsive site. But given the time constraint could not do so.

Personally, i enjoyed Information Architecture as a subject. Having an obsession with compulsive decluttering, it felt good to clean up the NUS website :)

Prototype Link