Bright Network began as a humble directory book that was given out to students at the UK's top universities. When they realised that it would be much more powerful to bring this directory online, they sold the rights to the book and instead created an online community. The aim was to engage the students and grads, then connect them with employers... and hopefully get them a job.
The Bright Network wanted a complete overhaul of their current site, including:
I wanted to create a proposal for Bright Network so they could agree to my approach before we started work. This would also help me with a tight timeframe and ensure the research phase was as productive as possible. I submitted a 2 page document I called a REX sheet (Research, Explore, Execute). This included some of my findings, assumptions and a host of questions for Bright. I felt this was the quickest way to get all the experience of their business out of their head and into mine.
With the document complete I created 2 personnas that were representative of their key demographic, then started to scamp out some key user flows. These were presented with some early homepage wires (that went into more detail than the flows) and a moodboard with some early brand implementation concepts. This included colour palette, use of imagery, typography and layout.
As the site was mainly informational the IA had become very complex over time. Some top level categories of Jobs, Events, Companies, Advice and a blog were supplemented by business sectors to jump straight into.
We also found users were at different stages of their journey to employment. So we needed to optimise for those in the "discovery" part of the lifecycle, as well as those who were in the "application" phase. Students and grad recruitment both adhere to strict calendar. Therefore we needed to be wary that when companies were looking to recruit grads we were able to remove any friction or noise. We also knew that during the rest of the year we need to "warm" them up by pushing events and advice, this would give the companies good coverage and ensure they got the highest quality, engaged and relevant applicants when the time came.
An early MVP was created in Invision that set out some of the key user goals and actions on the site, this was especially important for more functional aspects of the site such as the site search facility. We had developed a "natural language" form where users could hunt down really specific content globally, but in a more conversational and friendly manner.
Some basic user testing was carried out on the early protos with a focus group of 5. Feedback was mainly around being unable to distinguish between the core content types and some of the tertiary ones. This was tweaked with the introduction of icons and colour coding, and then rolled into the final designs. Each screen was produced in mobile, tablet and desktop sizes. As the site was built by a 3rd party agency I ensured a smooth transition to the build team. This included handover calls, a detailed handover document and some consulting via basecamp and over the phone.
There was a huge amount of work done in the initial 6 week project and the client was very pleased with the results. After the initial MVP was built and released to a closed user group, some more user testing showed up some issues with a particular layout on the landing pages. Over the course of a week we went back over the feedback and created some variant content modules, these were easy for the build team to implement and improved the dwell time on the landing pages as well as some better qualitative feedback from our focus group.
A few further updates followed for campaign-based work but the overall site has not changed much in the 2 years it has now been live, hopefully showing that it is standing the test of time. The early stats showed that the dwell time was up by 13% overall and goal completion had been improved by around 7%, we also improved the dropoff on the homepage by 17%.
Looking really good. I love the little icons and other touches. Looks clean and simple. Really happy with the results, it's just what we need to push the brand and company forward.Rachel Spedding, The Bright Network