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Telling the Birkbeck Story


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Slides for talk on "Telling the Birkbeck Story: How Customer Journey Mapping Helped Us Develop Our New Approach To Web" by Jane Van de Ban, Birkbeck, University of London and Chris Scott, Headscape


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Telling the Birkbeck Story

  1. 1. Telling the Birkbeck Story How Customer Journey Mapping Helped Us Develop Our New Approach To Web
  2. 2. In the beginning
  3. 3. Not just pirates
  4. 4. Your brand is no longer what you say it is. It’s what your users say it is.
  5. 5. Many journeys
  6. 6. Many touchpoints
  7. 7. No big picture
  8. 8. The challenge
  9. 9. Journey mapping
  10. 10. A foundation for user experience design Journey mapping
  11. 11. Journey mapping User research Journey mapping Journey mapping
  12. 12. Timeline Timeline
  13. 13. Key events Aware of BBK BBK is an option Decision to apply Offer Enrolment Key events
  14. 14. Key events Aware of BBK BBK is an option Decision to apply Offer Enrolment Rejection Key events
  15. 15. Key events and stages Aware of BBK BBK is an option Decision to apply Offer Enrolment Rejection Initial research Application Offer to enrolment Key events and stages Detailed research
  16. 16. Feelings Aware of BBK BBK is an option Decision to apply Offer Enrolment Rejection Considering PG study Open to ideas What is BBK? Interested Information hungry Details matter I want information NOW Open to ideas Uncertain about ability to study Help me to imagine I’m there Information hungry Anxious Can I afford? How will I finance? Frustration with process If I want help I want it NOW Motivated Uncertain Relief Excitement Frustration about unavailable information Indecision Need to plan Disappointment Initial research Detailed research Application Offer to enrolment Feelings
  17. 17. Touchpoints Aware of BBK BBK is an option Decision to apply Offer Enrolment Rejection Bus and tube train ads Web search 3rd party sites BBK website Enquiry channels: Phone, website forms, social media, email BBK website - especially course pages Emails - BBK Other people 3rd party sites Other people Open evenings Help channels: Phone, website forms, social media, email Application form Web - application status Web - apply for funding support Email - request references Emails - Departments Help channels: Phone, email Web: Timetables, immigration, reading lists Initial research Detailed research Application Offer to enrolment Touchpoints
  18. 18. Birkbeck’s weaknesses Aware of BBK BBK is an option Decision to apply Offer Enrolment Rejection What is BBK? Is BBK even a university? Awareness of BBK’s excellence is low Poor speed of enquiry response Too many emails from too many different places Website doesn’t impress BBK’s evening-based study, flexibility, financial support, study skills training are HIDDEN Help responsiveness is often poor - especially at critical times Application status information is poor Planning information such as timetables often too late Enrolment sometimes doesn’t happen until after term has started Initial research Detailed research Application Offer to enrolment Weaknesses
  19. 19. Birkbeck’s opportunities Aware of BBK BBK is an option Decision to apply Offer Enrolment Rejection Inclusion in league tables News and social media Improve enquiry handling Co-ordinate emailingsImproved web design: Clear messaging Improve help responsiveness Improve application tracking Earlier planning information Streamline enrolment Ad campaigns Bold imagery Improve findability Centralise bursaries and scholarships information Study skills webinars Offer alternatives to rejected applicants Initial research Detailed research Application Offer to enrolment Opportunities Person-to-person contact is critical - do more of it, off and on-line
  20. 20. Enquiries and help Application status Streamlining enrolments Earlier timetables Impact
  22. 22. WWW.BBK.AC.UK ABOUT ME Jane Van de Ban Web content manager • Been at Birkbeck since 2001. • Have been working on the Birkbeck web since 2004. • Have done two Birkbeck MA degrees. • Met my partner at Birkbeck. • Have a Birkbeck tattoo* *This may not be true.
  23. 23. WWW.BBK.AC.UK ABOUT BIRKBECK • London’s evening university. • Founded in 1823, in the Crown and Anchor Tavern on the Strand – mission to educate working men. • In 1830, Birkbeck became one of the first colleges to admit women as students (40 years before Oxford and Cambridge). • In 1920, joined University of London on the understanding that it would continue to teach in the evenings. • In 2012, started offering full-time UG courses for the first time – joined UCAS! • Silver TEF; high scores in REF.
  24. 24. WWW.BBK.AC.UK Our students are amazing: • Young people who want to study but have the edge by engaging in career-related activity during the day. • Mature students who left school and want a second chance. • Career changers. • PhDs who want to research with our academics. • Lifelong learners (oldest student was in her 90s). • Leisure learners/retirees who finally have time to pursue their passion. • Flipside: • Info on changes to part-time funding, etc., often lags behind government statements – so sometimes Birkbeck is the main source for this information (eg part-time student loans). ABOUT OUR STUDENTS
  25. 25. WWW.BBK.AC.UK In the last academic year: • 2.3m people visited our site, looking at an average 4.46 pages per session, lasting 4:11 minutes on average. • 57% of users came to us from Google. • People visited from 231 countries – but UK accounts for 78% of visits. • 30% of all visits were on mobile, while 64% were on desktop. ABOUT OUR WEB
  26. 26. WWW.BBK.AC.UK 1996 2003 2007 2008 2010 • Since 1996, we have had six iterations of our homepage – including an increasing number of redeveloped pages. • The Birkbeck web now comprises more than 82,400 publicly indexed content items.
  28. 28. WWW.BBK.AC.UK PROJECT OBJECTIVES – Ensure our website reflects our new visual ID (new design): • image-heavy • specific palate of colours. – Support recruitment onto Birkbeck courses by improving the student user journey. – Convert the whole Birkbeck website into responsive design. – Ensure the web works for everyone, including people with accessibility requirements. – Get rid of duplicate, out-of-date and poor content.
  29. 29. WWW.BBK.AC.UK Stage 1 (by May 2017) • Customer journey mapping (Headscape) to inform web design. • Develop new web design (Pentagram). • Web build Stage 1: apply new design to homepage, course listings and tertiary prospective student pages; upgrade navigation and content. Stages 2 and 3 (dates tbc) • Stage 2: apply new design to school and department sites and convert to responsive design; upgrade navigation and content. • Stage 3: do the same thing for the rest of the Birkbeck website. • Stage 4: breathe. DIGITAL ROADMAP
  31. 31. Old school Traditional Outdated Plain Dull Cumbersome Mediocre Lacks flair Blocky Unimpressive Colours are unattractive Doesn’t show Birkbeck’s personality Not enough pictures Needs more videos Some pictures quite lame Less dynamic (than other university sites) Navigation is confusing Text too small List text too close together Some buttons not obvious enough Videos are tiny and on the side Modern Clear Precise Beautiful pictures and colours Professional Nice layout Not too crowded Not too colourful Mature OK in terms of reflecting what Birkbeck is like Images are inclusive - especially ages Not flashy like UCL Readable Appealing Intuitive Straightforward Good font sizes Good colour scheme Doesn’t overuse images Photos good Good videos of students / lecturers talking
  32. 32. WWW.BBK.AC.UK • Problems with course finding - some courses didn’t appear in search results and/or under index headings. • Bursaries and scholarships: not easy to find them. • Student service information – really hard to find (all over the place; content maintained by about 85 people). HARD TO FIND IMPORTANT INFORMATION
  33. 33. WWW.BBK.AC.UK MESSAGES / USP NOT ALWAYS CLEAR Teaching is in the evenings! (who knew?).
  34. 34. WWW.BBK.AC.UK HIDING OUR LIGHT: NOT EASY TO FIND OUT HOW BIRKBECK DOES IN NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS National Student Survey 2016: Birkbeck has top scores UK-wide for: • Archaeology • Classics • Finance • Geology • Linguistics and number 1 in London for: • Economics • English Did you know when you applied?
  35. 35. WWW.BBK.AC.UK PRACTICAL DETAILS REALLY MATTER BEFORE ENROLMENT – BUT IT ISN’T ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO GET THEM! • Wanted (well) before enrolment… timetables course handbooks reading lists
  36. 36. WWW.BBK.AC.UK MANY STUDENTS NEED TO BOOST THEIR CONFIDENCE – but almost impossible to find information on study skills
  37. 37. WWW.BBK.AC.UK OTHER FINDINGS? • Talking to Birkbeck staff can be transformative – it’s the point at which many students make the final decision to study with us. • Our website is really important to prospective students. Some of them visit our website hundreds of times over 2-3 years before making the decision to study with us. • Our students work really hard to find the information they need – we don’t make it easy for them!
  39. 39. WWW.BBK.AC.UK DEVELOPMENT OF DESIGN • Meeting between CJM researchers and designers to understand problems. • Three meetings between designers and Birkbeck project team. • Design concept agreed and signed off. • Style guide developed by designers – delivered day before Birkbeck broke for Christmas.
  40. 40. WWW.BBK.AC.UK WEB DESIGN GUIDELINES 1. Simplify and clear away clutter. 2. Push up content and reduce steps. 3. Connect content and surface a story on every page. 4. Create hierarchy. 5. Don’t be afraid of long pages.
  41. 41. WWW.BBK.AC.UK • 1000+ content pages + 1200 files reduced to 100 content pages + 56 files •
  43. 43. WWW.BBK.AC.UK STATEMENT TILES No more hiding our light under a bushel!
  44. 44. WWW.BBK.AC.UK NEWS, EVENTS AND BLOGS/PODCASTS To raise our research profile and our successes, we’ve embedded news, events and blogs/podcasts in all of our key landing pages – including all of our course descriptions
  45. 45. WWW.BBK.AC.UK Other changes
  46. 46. WWW.BBK.AC.UK New digital standards • Birkbeck house style, tone of voice guidelines, file management instructions, image instructions, social media guidelines and our corporate identity guidelines.
  47. 47. WWW.BBK.AC.UK Content improvements Comprehensive list of questions prospective students ask at various parts of their user journey: • New content pages (eg information for parents) • Improved content (eg revisited our application / enrolment information in light of student questions)
  48. 48. WWW.BBK.AC.UK User testing • User testing is now a standard part of all of our web development work – which has led to significant changes to our web site – eg two-stage improvements to search: remedial changes to our existing search + commissioning of Funnelback to replace site and course search. • All web developments now user tested before and after go-live.
  49. 49. WWW.BBK.AC.UK Fix-It Friday • Since going live with our site a year ago, we have not restored web access to the 85 people who used to have access to our student service information. • Instead, we have introduced Fix- It Friday to action all routine maintenance requests – all requests through Yammer. • More than 300 requests actioned in the past year; requests for access to the site have stopped. • Content owners rebranded ‘subject experts’.
  50. 50. WWW.BBK.AC.UK We use the techniques • Student services reboot – met with all services and ran a ‘mini- CJM’ – post-it notes on customer questions, feelings, etc. • Card-sorting exercise. • Request staff to select the top priorities by ticking the post-it notes. Result: staff feel consulted and part of the web solution.
  51. 51. WWW.BBK.AC.UK What next?
  52. 52. WWW.BBK.AC.UK WHAT NEXT? We’ve launched Stage 2 – are now working with schools and departments to improve their presence on the Birkbeck website. Stage 3: the rest of the Birkbeck website!!! Stage 4 and breathe…