Come build the future with us
Designing for the next generation of thinkers, techies & futurists.
EIGHTFOUR was appointed UX & Design agency for SIT to start from scratch to redesign & redevelop the entire SIT web presence that spanned from their hero website to a series of promotional microsites. All these efforts had an overarching goal of making enormous amounts of information easily accessible, answering all questions, and most importantly, shifting the perception toward a legitimate university that uniquely focuses on the future and imbuing students with the practical skills needed for innovative industries.
What we did: Over the course of 2020, EIGHTFOUR employed every part of the agency – Research, Planning, Content Strategy, I.A., Prototyping, Design, Content creation, Copywriting & Build – to create a comprehensive & all-encompassing site for the University.
We took our usual iterative/atomic approach to the design, starting & getting feedback early. Starting with a style-scale, we collaborated with SIT stakeholders & pieced together a look & feel that was energetic, edgy, innovative, a bit tech & a bit irregular. We landed on something we all felt represented the new brand. The atomic approach allowed us to design both holistically and component by component in order to piece together a consistent web experience that spanned across the entire site.
But before arriving at the design, EIGHTFOUR spent a week analysing both local & international competition. We scoured the web looking for the best of the best, taking note of the design, approach, tonality, content strategy & any cool features we could potentially incorporate to our own experience.
We recruited 30 people & spent 3 solid days in a war room with a range of people identified as our target audience – prospective poly & junior college students, parents, teachers ‘etc’ – to find everything we could about what they need from a university, what messaging they respond to, what their ideas of authenticity are, their beliefs about the education market today & for parents, what their decision making process might look like - what they want for the children’s future. This formed the basis for the entire project & allowed us to identify points of opportunity along the decision making process.
We like to say we did the I.A. but that’s not entirely true; our users did. One of the magic things about card sorting exercises is it gives you a glimpse as to how your audience categorises information. Using these insights, we constructed an I.A. that was a balance between user expectation & the fact that SIT is a long-established organisation with already established business units & departments.
During the workshops, we were able to identify how our audience would search for the course they wanted & also the kinds of content they needed to make a decision. We’d call the academics section of the site the “core”, as it’s likely to be the start & end point of the journey before application.
The content itself was constructed around what was ‘key’ content & what is supporting content that helped facilitate a call to action or further distinguish SIT from the competition.
Usability wise: not only did this part of the site have to allow for easy course selection, but tell the story of the course benefits, how it’s relevant to the future, what the fees are, success stories of past alumni, requirements & also potential career paths & a lot more.
One of the most interesting insights we found from talking to our participants was what tone of messaging they responded to. Times are changing, quickly. Automation is displacing large swaths of the population, Artificial Intelligence is just around the corner, jobs are being displaced all the time through innovation & creative destruction.
The main concern among youngsters & parents alike is whether their chosen profession will still be relevant in 5-10 years. As sad as it sounds, many of our prospects were making decisions out of fear & concern for the future rather than ambition or passion. This finding played a central role in everything we did: from design to messaging & content strategy. The job of the site was to reassure that SIT is building the future, while the rest of academia was teaching the past. It also happens to be true.
When browsing a site like this, user flows are never linear. They’re usually dynamic & disperse. They also don’t begin or end on the website. We were able to plot a large amount of raw data & insights of our user’s journey that started with their pre-university life through research & consideration, all the way to application & beyond. From this, we could distill insights & thus opportunities we could seize along the way.
Data/info heavy sites like this have a reputation of being difficult to navigate. Using simple interaction models, we were able to design data-right areas of the site in ways that were effortless to navigate & easy to understand. The trick is to design in ways that are sympathetic to the way the audience thinks & processes information.
It shouldn’t need to be said that users weren’t visiting the site only for essential information. They wanted to experience what life was like campus. For that, we dedicated an entire section to Life@SIT which sold the experience life on campus.
We can do a lot