The UCLA School of Dentistry is one of the top dental schools in America with over 5,000 Alumni and 108 DDS graduates per year. With an integrated Dental care system, they take pride in being a global leader in dental education and providing specialized dental clinics for patient care. Due to the subject of the class, this case study is focussed more on UX research and strategy.
My Role: In total, we were a team of 6 UX Researchers and designers. My role included conducting a heuristic evaluation of the existing platform, moderating a couple user interviews, creating wireframes and designing the final UI to reflect our recommendations to the client.
How can we improve the experience of the current UCLA School of Dentistry website to match with UCLA standards?
UCLA School of Dentistry’s website did not have enough engagement and traffic from its key stake holders: potential students and patients. After an initial interview with Brianna Aldraich, we found out that they wanted to improve the site with a modern facing UI that reflected their reputation as a top UCLA dental school. She also wanted to increate social media engagement through the website and and streamline the navigation to make the website easier to use and tell one cohesive story.
To kick off the project, we did an initial brainstorm session with the entire group to assess the current website and write down out thoughts on both the functionality and aesthetics of the website.
After the brainstorm session, we also conducted a thorough heuristic evaluation of the website using the structure format of Neilson Norman’s 10 Usability Heuristics. This helped us to identify any other issues with the current website that weren’t already identified by Brianna Aldraich in her interview.
Key insights from the Heuristic Evaluation:
To get useful insights, we interviewed 3 main groups of people: patients, students and stakeholders.
Keeping in mind the busy schedules of key stake holders and time limitations with patients, we only conducted 30 minute interviews with them to understand their likes, dislikes and problems with the current website. With students however, we had more freedom with their availabilities so apart from interviews, we also did cognitive walkthroughs and closed card sorting (using Trello) to get some insights on what they thought and preferred for the website.
We also looked at competitor websites to get a better sense of the industry standards. Since the school of Dentistry focuses on both education and dental care, we split up our competitive research into two categories: dental school websites and dental clinic websites. We then identified the good and the bad parts of each website which aided us in devising our recommendations to the client.
By assessing the outcome of all the research, we realized that we had to narrow down the scope to fit within the time constraints and limitations of a 10 week project. Hence, we decided to focus on only the homepage, Patient and Student part of the website.
We first started with streamlining the navigation for these parts of the website. It was clear from the start through Brianna’s interview that they did not want to change the four main navigation tabs on the website. Therefore, we had to work around that and make changes to the sub navigation on top accordingly and sort out the internal links within each tab to remove any unnecessary links.
After the sitemaps were finalized, we started working on brainstorming and consolidating the wireframes to support all our recommendations based on the findings from our research. The original document contained a long list of specific changes we suggested to the client but these were our key recommendations:
To enable quick navigation to users of different needs and backgrounds. This also helps current students access their top webpages ( faculty directories, calendars, student organizations, etc.) faster than before without getting lost
To allow current patients to access their medical information, communicate with dentists, pay bills and make appointments.
To create one cohesive and compelling story about the UCLA School of Dentistry. We recommended that they should retain the upcoming events and current news sections currently on the website but also add sections for Key Milestones and Social Media with more pictures/graphics over all to improve the visual design, inline with UCLA standards.
To align with the school’s recent efforts to be more active on social media platforms like twitter, instagram and facebook, we recommended our client to include social media on the homepage.
To get rid of all the long chunks of text in some pages of the website which can be hard to follow. Inclusion of elements like bullet points, infographics and images would make the website information more easier to follow and user friendly thought visuals and engaging graphics.
Our final set of deliverables included 3 wireframes and 1 mock up. For the wireframes, we provided a clear outline of 3 different pages: Homepage, Current Patients page and Current Students page.
Since one of our key recommendation was to improve the visual design of the current website to match with the UCLA branding, we also did a high fidelity mock up of the homepage to illustrate how the visual design could be in terms of color usage, font and layout.
Working on this case study with a group of 5 other UCLA students was definitely a fun and enriching experience. This project was particularly very research intensive and I enjoyed diving deep into the various aspects of it like writing up interview outlines, conducting interviews with over 10+ people and analyzing the results to empathize better with their opinions and key pain points.
The client was quite pleased with the final presentation and felt that our thorough UX research and the initiative we took in interviewing so many users in a short amount of time was very commendable. Working with the School of Dentistry was challenging because we had to work with a very complicated website, keeping all user goals in mind.
This proposal was only a start but the next steps would be to develop the wireframes of Current Patients and Students pages to high fidelity mock ups. Due to time constraints, we had to narrow down the scope to a couple of pages but with more time, we would work towards improving the navigation on other tabs as well like Research and Service.