Case Study: Bellevue University Homepage Redesign

Client: Bellevue University
Role: Lead UX Design
Date: 2019 – 2020
Tags: #ux, #ui, #marketing, #visual-design, #mobile-first #cro #a-b-testing

Bellevue University is a four year liberal arts college in Bellevue, WA and one of Collegis Education’s largest partners (fun fact: they’re also an eLumen partner now!). In late 2019, Bellevue was looking for a new and fresh homepage, so the team set out on the path to create two net new homepage designs and test them against each other in a conversion rate optimization (CRO, A/B) test in order to determine which page yielded a higher conversion rate (requests for information). Read on to see how we achieved a 20% lift in conversion rate for Bellevue University!

Research

The first step was learning as much as possible about the traditional Bellevue student and their motivations. This involved working with Bellevue-specific user personas, speaking with Bellevue students, and pairing that knowledge with what we know about traditional four-year higher education students.

We collaborated extensively with current and prospective students as well as Bellevue faculty and staff to paint the picture of the Bellevue student: someone who may be the first person to complete higher education in their family, but who is already busy with work and/or family life and is looking for something that is flexible and doable, on their terms. The Bellevue student is already out in the world but wants to enhance their life through higher education.

In addition to learning about the Bellevue prospective student, we paired this knowledge with data from Google Analytics and third party heat-mapping tools to triangulate and support what we knew to be true about the prospective student.

The overall goal of this project was to produce clicks to Request for Information calls to action, ultimately resulting in completed requests for information (typically the first formal step in a higher education student’s journey, and really a form of client acquisition).

Bellevue Clickmap

Ideation

After researching the Bellevue student and confirming our assumptions with Bellevue stakeholders, we jumped right into ideation. I worked closely with another designer on my team, and we each developed one new design to be used in the CRO/A/B test.

We began our brainstorming session by reviewing what we knew: the problem, the project brief, and the information we had so far (personas, user testing data, Google Analytics data). While looking into Bellevue’s analytics, we learned that the institution has a good chunk of mobile traffic (~40-50% of visitors) which reinforced our emphasis on a mobile-first approach.

From there, we immediately began sketching and white-boarding (we’re designers, we can’t help it!). During this session, our main goal was to determine two distinct design plans. We landed on one design featuring family-focused imagery and messaging (think: “You want a program that’s flexible and doesn’t get in the way of spending time with your family”) and another that targeted the up-and-coming business professional (think: “You need flexibility, because you’re already in the workplace”).

With that in mind, we diverged to make the magic happen.

Prototyping

With lots of collaboration, both designs began to evolve. Both designs were continually shown to Bellevue stakeholders to ensure that we were on the right track, and lightweight user-testing was implemented to validate those assumptions.

Result

During the CRO/A/B testing period, we observed Bellevue’s conversion rate (percentage of clicks to the Request for Information CTAs) increase from 1.53% to 1.84% (a 20% lift) with 96% statistical confidence over more than 10,000 sessions. Shortly thereafter, Bellevue implemented the winning design which can still be seen in its final form, here. The same site can be viewed on mobile, or, if you’re on a desktop device, check out the mobile site [mockup], here.


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