I was hired as the Lead User Experience Designer for a very ambitious project awarded to Avanade. As part of an Agile team, we were tasked with the challenge of completely redesigning, visually and functionally, the Open Universities Australia website and experience. On top of this the entire technology stack was being changed so there were multiple vendors to liase with and our development team was based offshore.
Open Universities Australia provides people with the option of studying towards a degree in a way that suits their lifestyle and ambitions rather than conventional full-time study.
The project was design-led, meaning that I organised and ran design led workshops to agree the requirements and functionality with all key stakeholders in a visual and collaborative way. Working closely with the technology experts, this approach enabled me and the team to co-create an experience with the client in which the end users were always at the forefront. I ensured wherever possible we were not restricted by the existing system restrictions, and working with the client, a lot of work was required to help completely revolutionise the process in which someone applies to study a subject or degree – not just prettier designs.
Why do you deserve to win?
I was proud of what I delivered in the space of only a few months with Avanade. We went from the project kickoff with a rough list of requirements to a revolutionised, streamlined application process that is industry leading. We made use of advanced personalisation – meaning the site would show different content to a user based on how they browsed and interacted over time. I helped create an intelligent recommendation tool for those not sure what to study, designed an application process that allowed someone to apply for a degree even if they didn’t have all their details to hand, drastically simplified the forms that needed to be filled in and revamped the Information Architecture. This was on top of all the other standard functionality you’d expect on an educational services website.
It was only possible to stay focused by keeping in mind that this was not just about people studying degrees, it was about allowing people to work towards achieving their goals in life, particularly those not able to follow more conventional studying routes.
The project successfully went live at the end of 2017 and has received great feedback. See: https://www.open.edu.au