National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law Website Redesign

Information Architecture and Content Strategy

Colleges within larger Universities face large Information Architecture(IA) challenges, and need to address the needs of varied audience, and need to feel connected in some way as well as meets the goal of the potential students when searching for relevant information on the University website.

Assignment

For this project, I am redesigning the IA and website for NUS Faculty of Law

Persona

For my project, I decided to choose Mark as my target user. Mark is 17 years old college junior with excellent grades but has no idea of where to begin in evaluating potential schools. He is interested in practising law, so he’s looking into National University of Singapore (NUS), faculty of Law. He needs to find out more information like admission requirements, course programmes available to help him pick a major, and scholarship opportunities to ease his cost load when studying overseas.

Problem Statement

Mark needs to learned more about the course program in NUS Law, and find out the scholarship opportunities offered by the university.

My Approach and Process

  1. User Research →
    Persona mapping, contextual inquiries, needs & pain points
  2. Research on NUS Faculty of Law →
    Learn the user flows, business and brands
  3. Competitive and Comparison Analysis →
    Identify opportunities to differential or innovate
  4. Reorganise the information →
    Card sort analysis and revised site mapping
  5. Prototype, Test, Iterate and Refine →
    From paper prototype to testing, develop wireframe and clickable prototype, Iterate and Refine prototype
  6. Next Steps →
    What can be done for the next phase

1. User Research

  1. Conducted face to face interviews with few NUS undergraduates and requested them to navigate through NUS Faculty of Law website to look for specific information. The key takeaways are:

a) I need to find out more on course programs available using my mobile phone most of the time

b) I usually do a search via Google search for information to provide a link to NUS website as current information within NUS Faculty of Law website is not easy to locate.

c) NUS Faculty of Law website is not currently not mobile friendly

Key takeaways from face to face interviews
Affinity Mapping
Persona — Mark

2. Research on NUS Faculty of Law

Looking at the Information Architecture, Taxonomy of the content, data and information of how the current NUS Law website are classified to organised and create hierarchy.

Task — to look for course programs available

The main reasons for the many clicks taken to view course programs are:

  1. Home page Menu category wordings, student do not not understand the meaning, e.g. “CLE/CPD” (which means Continuing Learning Education).
  2. Website overwhelming with text information and poor navigation.
  3. Students find it difficult to know at which stage or which category they are in during navigation as there is no breadcrumb available.
  4. During the search, students often exhibited frustration and confusion, specifically after landing on the home page, students did not know how to find a general course programs details, as well as “Admissions Requirements and Deadline”.

3. Competitive and Comparison Analysis

Comparison made on different Universities:

  1. University of Cambridge,
  2. University of Oxford &
  3. University of Calgary

Table below shows the user flow comparison between these 4 universities on the number of clicks taken to look for course programs and details.

From the comparison analysis above, we notice that NUS Faculty of Law takes more steps when searching for course programs compared to other 3 universities. This is mainly due to category and navigation not cleared on the website.

Current NUS Faculty of Law website main page

Looking at the current the NUS Faculty of Law website main page, we can see that the main menu does not have a clear category on “Admission”, which normally also provides information on course programs and other information relevant to Admission.

Below is the main web page of University of Oxford — Faculty of Law, an example of clear main menu category featuring “Admission”.

University of Oxford — Faculty of Law — Website main page

Comparison made on different Universities:

  1. University of Cambridge,
  2. University of Oxford &
  3. University of Calgary

Table below shows the Elements Analysis between these 4 universities.

Competitive Analysis identify the potential opportunity for improvment for NUS Faculty of Law to develop a mobile friendly website, and to move some of the category to website footer.

Next up, a content inventory, which have many subcategory and links until I thought that I was wasting time cataloging everything. The hierarchy of pages are not that bad, pages nested within pages within pages and links leading to various site within and outside of NUS, and no breadcrumbs available. But in this assignment, we only need to identify the content inventory for the main page and programs detail page.

Content Inventory for NUS Law — Main page
Content Inventory for NUS Law — Programs Detail page

NUS faculty of Law SiteMap

Sitemap

From the current sitemap gathered, the website have many subcategory and links to other site within and outside NUS, many repeated links to the same piece of information, as well as some content could be better placed under other category.

Define The Current Design Problem

4. Reorganisation the Information

In order to obtain insights on the appropriate way to reorganize the information laid on NUS Law website, I began the process of Closed and Open card sorting. This involved placing all of the navigational topic onto flashcards, and asked individuals to place them into similar categories.

Closed Card Sorting
Closed Card Sorting

Takeaways from closed and open card sorting:

  1. Some topics although are under different category, they are being placed under a same category
  2. Few topics were left unsorted without any category as they were confusing
  3. Few topics could be better re-classified for better understanding, and to create a new category called “Admissions”

Presenting Design Opportunities

After several rounds of closed and open card sorting, I recognized repeating trending of topics that proved to be important and relevant to users. Therefore, I redesigned NUS Faculty of Law current information architecture to include only vital information, removed repetitive topics, and emphasised content that was most important to students. For this assignment purpose, I am only going to concentrate on creating a new category call “Admissions” on the main menu, and to include all relevant information that could be linked to Admission to provide a “one-stop” category for students.

Applying the IA Heuristics Evaluation by Abby Covert

IA Heuristics Evaluation on NUS Law website

Based on the IA Heuristics Evaluation above and Feature Priortisation and for this assignment, I will be designing the prototype on the followings for NUS Faculty of Law:

  1. A mobile friendly website
  2. A new category call “Admissions” on the main menu

5. Prototype, Test, Iterate and Refine

A new Mobile friendly website — Paper Prototype (Low Fidelity)

Task: to search for course programs

Second Iteration (Medium Fidelity)

With some feedbacks from usability study from the paper prototype, I proceed with the 2nd iteration using Sketch & Invision software to create a prototype with medium fidelity for the next round of usability testing.

WireFrame for Website (Redesign)

Wireframe for website

WireFrame for Mobile friendly website

By creating a new main menu category “Admissions”, this will greatly reduced half search time for students from 6 clicks to 3 clicks. Moreover, links to other revelant information like scholarships and application to NUS are include in “Admissions” category.

Wireframe for Mobile friendly website

Key takeaway from usability study on the mobile friendly website:

  1. Expect to see shortcut link to course application and viewing of scholarship opportunities.

Here is the link to final clickable prototype on the mobile friendly website: https://invis.io/ZF5I6SLT4

6. Next Steps

With the developing of the wireframe for the mobile friendly website, we can continue to refine our prototype and expand to website as well with more high Fidelity and continue with more rounds of usability testing to arrive our final new website for NUS Faculty of Law.

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