3 months at agency, launched
main point of contact, project manager, UX/Web strategy, UX research, content strategy, information architecture
full website build (7 pages) in B2B and educational SaaS space
A white-glove job board type service that connects employers to recent graduates looking for employment collaborates with a team of UX strategists, SEO experts, developers and visual designers.
Defining what makes Symplicity Recruit different in the market and what their users need to choose them over competitors.
Defining the user through user research, updating site navigation, per page content strategy, and a full-site new design.
To get more users to convert and increase sales!
Symplicity Recruit is a white-glove service that connects students and recent graduates with employers through their own academic portal. Symplicity Recruit is part of a hub of higher education related products.
With this site build, we were able to uncover what makes Symplicity Recruit different from its top competitors and uncover hidden value to drive conversions.
I worked with Symplicity Recruit's Director of E-Commerce and one of their copywriters. On my team's side, I worked with my UX manager, visual designers, developers, copywriters, and a technical lead. I was UX/UI strategist, content strategist, researcher, project manager and main point of contact to the client.
- Users weren't getting enough information about the service on the website – what do they need to know to convert?
- Symplicity Recruit was available to users outside of institutions – is this true? Who is this service available for?
- Symplicity Recruit's talent pool was particularly unique – but in what way? How is their talent pool different from their competitors?
Then I took the plunge and began to investigate to either validate or amend these assumptions and answer these questions I had!
Recruit's top competitor...
- Owns 90% of the market share, puts students first rather than employers and has a separate website for employers only
- Approach prioritizes number of jobs available to students rather than quality of student
- Has a website that answers key questions users may have
- Cuts out students' most trusted relationship – their institution
- Symplicity Recruit doesn't have the schools employers care to post to
- Other platforms have the ability to search a database using filters that don't exist within Recruit's database
- Students are looking for jobs through submitting forms rather than Recruit's main user, employers
- Site traffic increases around typical graduation dates
- Unclear calls to action and difficult to find out how to take next steps
- Crowded form pages that bury key product value propositions
- Confusing, watered down messaging about what value Recruit really provided
Overall, it was unclear what Symplicity Recruit was and who it was for! Objections during the sales process proved users were unconvinced by the key value proposition and even HubSpot form responses showed students thought they could find jobs by requesting a demo of the product, even though the product is for employers.
Sharing these insights with the client, I learned something incredible that dramatically changed the way I thought about next steps. I learned that Symplicity Recruit was only available through institutions and did not have unique branding on its software. Instead, the software blended in with the institutions branding, making it even more difficult to communicate its value on the product website.
However, this made it easier to understand what relationship really drove the key value proposition home: the students' relationship with its institution! This connection became key to figuring out exactly how to communicate the value of this relationship to employers.
They prioritize and build long term relationships with institutions and employers rather than focusing on reach or number of jobs.
Their talent pool includes students who are nurtured through their institution's career center and therefore provide certain education-specific value to employers
They have an exclusive network of students who are already working with their institution's career center, rather than just anyone who can apply for the job, like their competitors.
Through our discussions, I learned that Symplicity Recruit protects students from their data being sold and used for other purposes. They demonstrate that they put students first.
To build trust with Symplicity users, we leveraged logos of clients using their software as well as using statistics that show effectivity.
We also directly acknowledged the differences between different types of users. User-specific pages targeted the unique problems and goals each type of business would face.
Since the research suggested that users weren't sure what Symplicity Recruit was and who it was for, we illustrated exactly how it works.
We also directly acknowledged user challenges and pain points to illustrate how Symplicity Recruit solves for these problems.
The key messaging we wanted to hone in on was to emphasize Recruit's targeted approach for efficiency and accuracy within the talent pool. Recruit can only be accessed through a student portal, making education specific talent exclusive to their users.
My approach for wireframes was to communicate exactly why Recruit's talent pool was full of qualified, educationally focused and unique students.
The previous design's Home Page hero took up the entire screen! Other elements had text that was too cramped to breathe and be legible. We wanted to create a thoughtful, more balanced hierarchy of information on this new site.
We used gradients and font treatments to direct users towards significant modules and headlines to differentiate blocks of content.
While the previous design had color, it actually had too much color! Gradients swallowed important blocks of information users needed to see clearly. Recognizable logos from their clients and partners were also grayscale and nearly invisible.
Our team decided to highlight significant calls to action. We also kept original colors of recognizable brands that could build trust with users.
To make the new clean design more dynamic and engaging to use, content was only revealed on scroll.
Adding this interaction design kept the visual experience from becoming stale and static. This decisions was meant to draw users eyes to important blocks of content without dramatically interrupting the user experience.
I really wish I actually got to interact with users! Without interacting with users, it was difficult to actually know what the right problems were. To know what we need to solve for, we need users!
Observing users using the product would have allowed me to see the messy reality of what is important to users – especially their frustrations with the product.
This inspired me to take on an internal initiative to not only assess the UX maturity of my team, but to create a user research playbook to better understand why we should do research and how we can do research within our current process. This way, I could effectively communicate the value of user research to my team. Want to learn more about this initiative? Contact me here.
User interviews would have allowed us to get in-depth insights about our users. I wanted to really get to know the users and what they were struggling with so that we could solve for users -- we may have depended on best practices as they pertain to inbound marketing, but every project and every end user is different.
Even though I was able to uncover hidden value with the client, actually being able to use the Symplicity Recruit product would have given me a bit more hands-on understanding of what the product itself does and what value it provides.
Even with the research I was able to do, it was hard to know what users felt throughout their experiences with Symplicity Recruit without their direct input. Empathy and infinity mapping would have allowed me to also guide our visual designer and developer in the right direction as well.
Initial research findings also made me so curious about the way Symplicity planned to move forward to differentiate themselves as a business to educational institutions. How does Symplicity's full suite of products enhance and continue to add value to Symplicity Recruit's users?
Bridging the two together would have allowed me to hone in further on the client's main KPI – increasing total conversions through conversion rate optimization strategy.
With a deadline of 3 months, I would have loved to optimize the full build with results from user testing to better understand how we can improve the user experience and content strategy for users.
It would have also been meaningful to measure the impact of these decisions. Without taking regular baseline measurements, it's difficult to say whether these decisions were successful.