An education listing site helped with supporting their users to reach a life changing decision.
Decisions are always hard, especially the ones as important as the ones concerning future studies. It is the stuff of life change. It creates hope and doubt, many times in equal measures.
Blocket Utbildning, like it's parent website Blocket, is a listing site. The site aims to help those in search for a new education. It offers an easy overview over educations and ways of reaching out to them. Blocket Utbildning is meant as a tool for those unsure over their future path.
This projects challenge was; present insights into Blocket Utbildning users, their pain points and how to deliver a unique value for them.
To give the challenge a solution we interviewed vocational school students and got insights into exactly what went on in the minds of people looking for an education before making a decision. From that we gathered data on pain points and realized people in that stage wanted advice that felt more personal and trustworthy. From that realisation we created the feature Alumni Q&A + personal questions. (More detail on the process in chapter Project process.)
The interface should display the alumni in a way that shows their picture, name, year of graduation, where they work and their title. With this information the user might be able to determine their credibility.
The alumni feature needed to be integrated in a way that makes it clear it is relevant information and not an add (earlier prototypes showed the importance of this).
THE EDUCATION INFORMATION SITE + Q&A FEATURE
The Q&A is prepared questions which is presented on each alumni profile. It is easy to access and does not require much effort from the person seeking information or from the alumni.
ASKED QUESTIONS & LOG IN
The asked questions is a place where one can ask a question and an alumni will eventually answer. The page will also give access to answer of earlier asked questions. This way more information that feels personal can be accessed, without too much interaction or effort from the alumni - like a chatt function would have had. This require an login though, giving an extra reason to create an account at Blocket.
(Next chapter Project Process explains the thought process that went into developing these features.)
GENERATIVE RESEARCH & INTERVIEWS
The first stage of the projects process was to do generative a research on Blocket Education's market space and competition as well as identify their users and interview them.
That research revealed there was a need in the market for a search site for vocational schools rather than universities. This research made us focus on the target group of potential students for vocational school.
To understand this target group we did interviews with current vocational students, asking them of the procedure they went through when looking for a school, as well document their emotion on a timeline that happened during the process. We visited the two vocational schools Nackakademin and Berghs school of communication
Beneath are the common timeline and all the collected timelines from vocational schools.
People need to reaffirm their choices with their friends and family. 10/11 people confirmed their decisions from friends and family
“I spoke to my colleagues close to me.”
“I spoke a lot with my family and I trust them very much.”
People need guidance in the process of finding education. 6/11 wanted help in gathering information needed to get in the school
“ Whenever i met some who is interesting, I asked them how they reached here”
“ Communication with school rep would have been nice”
In the ideation phase we thought of several different ways to try to create a solution from these key insights (presented below). In the end, we arrived at the l decision to focus on adding value through current students/alumni since this touched on both of the main themes presented in the interviews. How to create that value though alumni? We decided to try prototyping both a Q&A and chatt prototype to see which was most appreciated.
We needed to know what was the least amount of work a current student or an alumni needed to do to still provide strong value to the user on the site. The ideation we used was methods called crazy eight and speed dating.
TESTING & PROTOTYPES
We narrowed down the features to two, by comparing and combining the features. We needed to see if people were interested in getting help from people in schools or working in the industries. This led to Q&A and a chatt function.
5/9 clicked on the Q&A feature.
7/9 liked the possibility of a Q&A when asked.
5/9 were concerned over biasness.
4/9 wanted more contact with Alumni (Email: 2/9; Chatt: 1/9; Not defined: 1/9)
5/9 wanted more content from the Alumni
” I like the Q&A, but I would like it to be more extensive. For example some of these questions and answers do not say much.”
“... I must know if she speaks the truth”
“I also would like to have more people’s answers here.“
More Alumni giving the Q&A
Unbiased-part needs to be more clear
Option for more contact
Insights of the users
Blocket knows the educators pain points but needs help with understanding the user and their pain point
The business model works through the number of leads and conversions create.
We are targeting people looking for Yrkeshögskola, yrkesutbildning, B2B education and recreational courses in companies.
2/6 people clicked on the Alumni
2/6 people clicked on Alumni Chat first
1/6 clicked on Alumni Chat second
3/6 did not click on anything at all and went to click the green button
” I would like to ask people, but i don’t want a whole conversation.”
“I really liked that i could see all of them, maybe if could direct my question towards them and any one of them could answer me..“
Chat was not the prefered way of making contact.
Some people wanted help with their questions but they found it difficult to have a conversation.
By taking the learnings from the user test we could determine a chatt function was not interesting for the users but a Q&A with more information and additional questions was of interest. Therefore we created such an alumni feature (details on the alumni feature we created is under the chapter Project details further up.) Beneath is a user flow over how the alumni feature fit into the larger timeline of a potential student using Blocket Education as well as Blocket Utbildning's feedback to the project.
"We had high expectations on this project and our expectations were well met by the Hyper students. Research findings were valuable to us, well grounded and insightful, deliverables were relevant and visionary."
- Linda Fors
Growth Lead, Blocket Utbildning
THINGS I LEARNED
I relearned I really enjoy not only user research but also leading those processes. To create the questions for the interview and going out to do them was great fun.
I need to be aware that what sort of users I interview can and will affect the user testing.
ALWAYS be two people at least when interviewing. You will miss things otherwise.
Before creating the prototype be sure to know exactly what question you want answered through it. It will save time ( I learned this the hard way).