Non-Traditional Student Research
Transforming over 100 hours of qualitative data into actionable insights
+ 50+ Remote Contextual Inquiries
+ 50+ Remote Moderated and Unmoderated Usability Testing
+ Stakeholder Workshops
+ TreeJack and Card Sort Tests
April 2018 / Co-Presenter, "Designing for Non-Traditional Students" at eLive 2018 in San Diego, CA
Spanning 2 years as a Senior UX Researcher at Ellucian, a higher-education software company, I led a large research study speaking and observing nontraditional students to understand their defining needs and perspectives. The research insights were transformed into UX designs on over 6 products at Ellucian, including Banner, Colleague, CRM Advance, CRM Recruit, and Ethos. I collaborated with stakeholders and UX Designers to ensure that this population would be differentiated and represented as a main end user persona different from traditional students.
1. Creating a New Method: The gold standard of qualitative research is contextual inquiries, but given how busy and limited non-traditional students are, I had to design a method of doing remote contextual inquiries with students to gather meaningful data while being mindful of their needs.
Often while interviewing students, I asked them to send me pictures or screenshots of applications they used, calendars, and planners. These artifacts provided additional behavioral data that interviewing couldn’t. This also enhanced our case to stakeholders as we were able to show evidence of student behavior in their own writing in research presentations.
2. Synthesizing the Findings: I had never experienced so much data before to synthesize. I chunked sessions in groups of 15-20 inquiries so that I could synthesize in bites, then return to the study to probe into different areas of interest.
I also found that our findings aligned closely to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and as a result I developed the Student Hierarchy of Needs with details of how students experienced each level and how we could design at each phase.