National University is an educational powerhouse, offering over 75 online & on-campus bachelor's and graduate degree programs. NU offers on-site and virtual degree programs for adults in every phase of their professional journey, and is a top educator of the US military. In 2021 alone, NU awarded 50 million in scholarship funds.
NU asked Brick Factory to redesign their main website, where prospective and current students, faculty, staff, and alumni learn about NU’s programs and services. NU wanted to better organize the wide-ranging information available on the website, and also came to us with the goal of increasing Request For Information (RFI) form submissions from prospective students.
Our team incorporated the new WordPress Gutenberg editor into the NU site during the redesign. A combination of custom blocks, block patterns that used the new brand, and reusable blocks of content served as building elements for the common page types on the NU website. Once our team created the blocks, we were able to very quickly use the blocks to make the high volume of pages required on the NU site. In addition to new pages, existing pages and templates were updated to incorporate blocks and the new brand. Adopting this tool allowed our team to work very efficiently, and set up the NU team to easily make new pages in the future while maintaining brand consistency.
NU offers a multitude of programs: everything from a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to a Doctorate in Data Science. Improving program information on the website was a high priority in order to catch the interest of prospective students. However, the old program pages were sparse on detailed information, and difficult to navigate.
As part of the redesign, Brick Factory created a completely new design and user experience for the program pages, featuring robust information about each degree offered. On the program pages, we also created a “sticky” navigational sidebar that stays with the user as they scroll down the entire page, helping the user get to the information they want with minimal friction.
Prospective NU Students use the Program Finder tool to narrow down their choices by field, degree level, program type, and more. Brick Factory identified the Program Finder page as a great opportunity for increasing RFI submissions. We did this by creating a more engaging interface that made it easier for prospective students to compare their options.
In the old Program Finder layout, a user would select a few parameters and then scroll down to the bottom to review their options. The new layout mimics a well-designed e-commerce experience: users can narrow down their choices via a left-side navigation bar, and see their possible programs change in real time. We also added more visual definition to the program choices with design and images, and added more opportunities to click through to the RFI. In the A/B testing phase, the redesign resulted in 17.83% RFI submissions, and thus became the permanent version of the Program Finder.
National University is a vast organization with a lot of information to organize. As such, the Brick Factory team paid special attention to the main navigation. Brick Factory designed a Mega-Menu system that would make the program pages easier to find, and easier to process at a glance. By providing better access to the program pages, this move also supported the goal of increasing RFI submissions. We A/B tested the original version of the navigation against the mega menu, and the results were loud and clear: the mega menu drove 63.73% more people to the program pages than the old menu.
The results of the A/B tests were so compelling that NU wanted to implement pieces of the Brick Factory redesign right away. Pre-launching the new Mega Menu navigation concept brought increased RFI submissions to NU even before the full redesign launched in July 2022. Post-launch, we are continuing to work with NU on further projects to improve their website and overall digital presence.