Before & after career makers
I joined BPP as a freelance UI designer, and accepted their job offer as UI lead - responsible for my first team. The design team were great, sat within Brand and Content. They're a talented group of people, who want to create bold work. I learnt so much about the power and value of a healthy and happy team, led by the brilliant Natalie Proctor.
So much has shifted in the education space. People are much savvier on how they invest in their future. The biggest challenge we worked on, was how does a company attached with University status, move towards B2B education supplier - focusing more on larger businesses up-skilling?
This was a sizeable pivot to shift - essentially working with two focuses - what’s the user flow to persuade HR and Talent Managers? What elevates the UI and content at a brand perception to B2B course supplier? There were some inherited challenges that come with any new role. We needed to relaunch a version of the site that was far from ideal. The brilliant flip side of this - our team was given the autonomy and time to reimagine this - with thorough user insights and testing, plus a brand strategy that was bold and disruptive. I worked and learnt so much from two exceptional people, James O’Connell and Tom Rainford. James is a rock n roll creative strategist and art director, Tom a brilliant UX designer and researcher. Both these people challenged and inspired me to hunt for better solutions and creative ideas.
James led the way with a new brand strategy. It was my task to interpret this and redesign a new and more comprehensive UI library. This was more than just a stylistic update - accessibility, legibility and comfort on forms, buttons and elements had to be reconsidered. I tackled designing bigger sections of the site - also spotting where there was obvious gaps for content to be created or where the UI library felt repetitive and uninspired as an experience. With a really solid UI library tested and in place we were able to brief the dev agency with a much more clearer set of tech specs - supplied across all screen sizes for consistency. The ultimate goal was to get a built out component library, that existed as modules, so we could test and trial page variations in house. Getting to work out which pages and messages would convert - much faster.
Worth mentioning - Design Systems by Alla Kholmatova is a great book, looking at UI practice and atomic design - she also worked in the education space for Future Learn. It was helpful to see someone already tackle a large scale education site, with a well documented pattern library.
Solve the micro, then scale
Everything needed to work as a whole, be scalable and fit for purpose. This was an in tandem task - running alongside decluttering and reworking hierarchy on pages, plus guiding UX principles on the volume of content and messaging. It was a huge team effort. I worked on a number of interesting problems:
How do you house so many courses in one place?
How do we make the nav a really smooth experience?
What does a more intuitive search look like?
What does the home page look like, weighted towards a business audience?
What’s a higher converting, easier to understand courses area?
What’s a better experience playing embedded video?