The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Do You Know Your Users?

Starbucks knows exactly what you are going through when you order coffee

Starbucks knows exactly what you are going through when you order coffee

Imagine the following situation: a prospective student, let’s call her Eva Excitement, is in the midst of deciding which university to go to.

Your university is one of her top choices and she is browsing through your website to find the information she needs: Will she be able to study a semester abroad? Are you offering any advice on housing? When is the admission deadline? What does she need to hand in along with her application?

In an ideal world, your website would perfectly suit Eva’s needs, she would find all the information, and get even more excited about her studies. Of course, in the end she would decide to pick your university because her experience on your website strengthened her beliefs that you are the perfect fit.

But what if not? Well you are in luck, user experience mapping might be just what you need to make Eva choose your school.

As Voltaire Santos Miran put it in our most recent webinar: “a user experience map is a beautiful visual way of capturing the most important parts of a general experience that your audience has”. A well-known example of such a map is Rail Europe’s experience map.

RailEurope Experience MapAdaptive Path, the pioneer of user mapping, defines its goal as the following:

“illuminate the holistic customer experience, demonstrating the highs and lows people feel while interacting with your product or service”.

In the example above, the user experience is broken up in different stages and includes the thinking process of the user, as well as the user’s feelings.

Identifying these feelings is the result of data gathering through interviews and surveys. The purpose of an experience map is to filter out the user’s experience. This means that the process is solely focused on the customer or audience, not the service or the product.

A map can be used for a very broad process, such as applying for a university, or something very specific, like ordering a coffee:

starbucks experience map

Knowing what your user goes through will not only help you identify areas of improvement, but it can also highlight inter-dependencies and break down silos between departments or units.

There are a few examples from the higher ed sector that are touching on experience mapping by creating different personas for their universities.

To learn more about this topic, listen to our recent webinar about user experience mapping or take a look at the slides.