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User Research

Connecting West Indies to West End

The University of the West Indies (UWI)


For over 60 years UWI has been the shining light of Caribbean academia. Campuses in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados graduate 9000 annually.


What a great brief!

This impressive network includes a Nobel Laureate, Rhodes Scholars, Prime Ministers, Heads of State, businesses titans and diplomats. With 120,000 Alumni globally, an amorphous competitive landscape, the evolving way we think about education--it's time to reconnect to and secure the institutions future.

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Project scope

A cost-effective, scalable digital platform for multiple-parties to manage

Discover the right platform or product and develop an attractive brand

Empower internal marketing teams with a toolkit of patterns and templates

Start to build long-term relationships with global diaspora

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Goals + Objectives

Encourage as many UWI students to sign up/share existing profiles

Utilize existing networks, such as Linkedin to amplify awareness

KPI conversion rate of (10,000 sign ups from 75,000 in YR1)

Fundraising, reconnecting communities, building new ones, intellectual support

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Project Team

Project lead - Abovegroup

Product development - Simply Intense

Client - UWI OIAI / UWI Marketing





Led to a heavy research based project process



13 x internal face-to-face interviews across campuses

5 x external interviews with key business stakeholders

2 x Focus groups across departments

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Questionnaire to 4000+ Alumni on newsletter lists

Questionnaire promoted via paid social media

Analysis of 1000's of results and feedback

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Reviewed internal strategy and research plans

Institutional Assessment - Future Funds - 2012

College and Universities Advertiser Report - 2014


Which surfaced great insights for product analysis


Audience Research


Persona building

Paid social media questionnaire

Weekend for two prize in Tobago

A/B tested Photo


Data Sorting Framewok


Created a multi-sheet template

User questions and key statements

Identified goals & frustrations

A dump column for pain points out of scope

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Embraced Patterns and Themes


Grouping Key Statements

Created a multi-sheet template

Business requirements

User requirements from goals, frustrations

Product and technical requirements


The master sheet looked something like this

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Which helped us create Persona profiles

From the interviews, we created seven internal and external personas and populated them with content from like-minded professionals on LinkedIn. While they felt like individuals, it was more about viewing the world through a groups eyes. This allowed us to make informed decisions instead of guess work or personal tastes.


This moved us into execution based on a solid strategy

One of our biggest deliverables was just getting consensus of a usable application without feature bloat. We crafted a series of strategic statements to help set some guidelines to an underlying framework. Clarity, a shared buy-in, and negotiation was key across multiple teams, departments and leadership visions.



Positioning Statement

Our light shines

Our diaspora of students and Alumni can now access a vast network of opportunities exclusively in one space.


Experience map

Using the insights uncovered, we mapped out a detailed multi-layered path that met user needs. Not everything would be catered for, but at least we were able to start to build for the majority.

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Growth planning map


This all led to some solid decisions being made 

Our audiences were already doing everything on mobile and so being connected was a given. The obvious answer was a mobile app that bridged the gap of institution and Alumni life experiences.


But back to our feature prioritization

With clear personas goals and objectives identified, as well as requirements from a business and institutional perspective, we were able to identify the most common needs of the features .


So we could now define and design user flows


And develop brand communication and assets