WEBSITE

METFILM
Lights, Camera, New site architecture...

Metfilm website analysis on a whiteboard.

THE PROBLEM

Business Goals.

As London’s leading provider of film making courses, Metfilm School’s primary goal is to convert enquiries from potential students into full applications.

User goals.

Potential students are looking for course information, to make a course enquiry or apply directly for the course.

The existing site focused on content for contents sake rather than supporting user or business goals.

THE SOLUTION

Key highlights of the UX techniques that helped to shape the project include the exploration of user journeys, making sure the primary goals of the user and the school (as a business) were in sync.

Content patterns were designed and prototyped in collaboration with the lead designer and developer, meaning that the shcool could create their own pages and adapt the content across the site beyond the scope of the project.

Visit metfilmschool.ac.uk >>
metfilm school logo

EXISTING STATUS

The site needed focus. Pages were heavy with copy or sparse with lots of wasted space. The site had no clear goals, CTAs or considered KPIs supported by analytics.

The site also missed the opportunity to celebrate the many achievement of the school and it’s Alumni (useful for persuasion and social proof).

Existing MetFilm School site listing page
Existing site. Pages don't guide vistors through a journey.
Existing MetFilm School site content page
Existing site. Copy heavy pages don't engage with site visitors.

DISCOVERY & ANALYSIS

Key personas and user journeys were created, tasks analysed and the Information Architecture of the site was developed over many iterations.

Unfortunately there wasn’t any chance to test the IA with potential students because of the project constraints.

MetFilm School Key Personas.
Personas were used to focus on key site visitors to understand their behaviours and goals.
MetFilm School core user journey
Understanding the user journey helped to inform the site structure and prioritise content.
MetFilm School site architecture
The site architecture was complicated and extensive and suggested phasing for the project.
This project was delivered to the first green bar.

UX DESIGN

Tasks & goals.

User tasks were used to inform the design of the wireframes, and early on in the project it was clear that there was a need for content patterns rather than complete template pages. After several rounds of sketching and discussing wireframes and prototypes with the project team, the different project disciplines came together in the war room.

The war room.

The war room allowed each discipline to discuss the content patterns from their point of view and see how feesible they were in terms of time, cost and commercial value to the project. Many patterns were eliminated or combined to serve multiple content needs in order to rein in the project scope.

MetFilm School interaction sketches
Interaction sketches.
MetFilm School Axure prototype
Mid fidelity Axure prototypes were created to test design patterns and for project team feedback.

TESTING THE CORE JOURNEY

Unfortunately, UX hadn’t been a consideration for this project, I joined the project team well after the inital discovery phase. Because of this there were restrictions in getting real users to test the designs.

In order to address this and at least test the core journey (as a minimum) I sent the wireframes off for heat map analysis. I set a very simple, but typical goal for the test group to achieve - ‘Find a BA(Hons) Film & Digital Cinematography course in London and apply for the next available course.’

The results show that visitors to the site will try many different (and unexpected) routes through the site, this may have to do with taxonomy, which I wasn’t able to test. However, it did confirm that ultimately visitors will easily find the CTA on the course page and understand what is required of them to fulfil their goal.

There are now KPIs and analytics set up to track user journeys and measure how successful we have been with the architecture and content patterns or suggest whether they need further optimisation. Further qualititative user research will need to take place to validate the design thinking.

RESULTS

At the time of writing this case study the KPIs and analytics are still very new, but if the comments on social media are anything to go by, it looks like we’re heading in the right direction.

“Oooh very snazzy. Loving the improvements!”
- @ReTommyT

“We’ve joined the 21st century!”
-@laurentbrady

SUCCESSES

Although there are typical successes required by the business (increased traffic and revenue), for me the success of the project lies in clear user journeys and goals. A clear focus and purpose for the website.

On a personal level the collaboration between project team members was the biggest success of all, working in new ways to the benefit of the project and not to satisfy any single persons ego during the project.

BARRIERS & SOLUTIONS

In order to deliver this project the team weren’t initially thinking about the visitors to the site or the commercial goal of the project. There was departmental bias in the project. In order to overcome this, 3 very high level personas were created from the outset so the team could begin to empathise with the goals and needs of visitors to the site. Journeys clarified the steps a visitor would need to take to fulfil their goals.

Budget and time constraints meant that some content patterns had to be combined or eliminated to reduce the project costs and try to recover some of the time.

Finally sending the wireframes for external testing meant I could get at least some feedback and validate the design thinking and decisions.

TOOLS

Most of the thinking and exploration took place with good old fashioned pencil, sharpies, paper and a huge whiteboard wall.

  • Omnigraffle for architecture and sitemaps.
  • Illustrator for personas and user journeys.
  • Axure for prototypes.
  • 5secondtest for user testing.

TECHNIQUES

  • Personas.
  • User journeys.
  • Task analysis.
  • Information architecture.
  • Project team design workshops.
  • Responsive interaction design.
  • Wireframe sketches (low fidelity).
  • Prototypes (mid fidelity).
  • Content audit & development of pattern librarys.
  • Use of persuasion techniques and social proof.
  • High level user testing through heat map analysis.

RETROSPECTIVE

The site has now been live for a few months (as of June 2015), and although a strategy was put in place for the website, as a project team we ultimately have no control over the way the content has been integrated into the site.

For me personally, I feel like it has lost the cinematic feel of the original concept as content has been wedged back into place undoing everything we set out to deliver for the client.

One of the failures after the launch of the website may have been the component based solution, and although example layouts were provided showing how the components should sit together, the content creators for the site have used them in an unpredicatable way.

This highlights the need for user research throughout the project. So, in retrospect, had we done this I'm sure I would have been more inclined to offer a template based solution, with some flexibility, maintaining the original design concept and the clarity of the user journeys.

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