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Digital Strategy + Service Design: Align web presence and operations to meet evolving target audience demographics and industry trends.

Challenge

World Strides, a leader in educational travel and study abroad programs, had recently acquired International Studies Abroad (ISA). They needed a digital strategy to guide the redesign of ISA’s primary web presence – StudiesAbroad.com. World Strides wanted a UX consultancy with service design experience to partner with ISA’s leadership team to review its digital presence, benchmark it against competitors, and create a strategy for the redesign of the StudiesAbroad.com digital web presence in line with trends in international education, the needs of ISA’s target audiences, and its business operation – all in 90 days.

Approach

Experience by Design (EBD) led a series of kickoff meetings with stakeholders and project team members from World Strides and ISA to review their goals, align expectations, develop a preliminary work plan, and assign roles and responsibilities.

While World Strides and ISA teams gathered inputs and resources identified during the kickoff meetings, we reviewed assets in the ISA/StudiesAbroad.com digital ecosystem, including the StudiesAbroad.com website and content. We also reviewed their analytics and historical usage reports to gauge how the site was being used and how it was performing.

By combining the inputs and resources provided by World Strides and ISA with its own reviews of ISA’s digital ecosystem, and drawing upon good practices from the service design framework, EBD devised a plan for the project with the goals of:

  • Aligning the backstage organization processes, work streams, and solutions with frontstage target audience needs.
  • Creating user-friendly, meaningful, and empathetic experiences for all.
  • Reducing friction across touchpoints throughout the study abroad lifecycle. 

Discovery work began with ISA stakeholder and operations team interviews, competitor reviews, a content inventory, and a sitemap and card sorting study to test a more streamlined organizational structure for the website. We continuously updated and reported findings to the teams during daily standups and weekly check-in meetings, obtaining informed perspective and insights, critical feedback, and direction as needed. We used this research to draft high-level audience sketches and preliminary storyboards for key experiences and features for the new website, and also design and conduct in-person executive leadership and journey mapping workshops.

We incorporated all findings and recommendations into a final Strategy Brief to guide the redesign of StudiesAbroad.com. The brief provided a high-level roadmap for unifying ISA’s digital presence, and measures to track and optimize the target audience’s experiences across all touchpoints of the relationship lifecycle, including:

  1. awareness and initial contact,
  2. program review, approval, and course selection
  3. program participation and completion
  4. alumni involvement and engagement

Result

We helped World Strides and ISA cultivate a shared understanding of the critical experience challenges they faced and their scope. By providing strategic recommendations and high-level directions, EBD helped focus the design and positioning of their digital presence to complement ISA’s operational strengths and unique capabilities, and align with audience and marketplace needs, opportunities, and trends. 

List of Services

  • UX Strategy
  • UX Team + Design Management
  • Project Planning + Management
  • Brainstorming + Collaborative Design Workshops 
  • Concept Modeling
  • Stakeholder Interviews
  • Target Audience Profile
  • Industry + Competitor Research
  • Experience Review + Analysis
  • IA, IxD, UI Design + Content Strategy & Design
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