June 30, 2016
User Experience Is No Longer A Digital Term
We grew up as a digital agency, so the term user experience lends itself towards online spaces. But as we’ve grown into the higher ed marketing world the last 7 years, user experience has taken on new meaning.
It feels against the grain, as we build more traditional into our creative—out of home, viewbooks, etc.
As we spend more and more time on campuses, we’ve seen first-hand that online experiences we built have many non-digital applications (and implications).
We’ve seen admissions counselors find a prospective student’s major in their office without catalogs. We’ve seen alumni marketers show off an app under a tent at a football game. We’ve seen college marketers encourage alums to add their work to a new portfolio at a national conference to have a positive impact on student recruitment.
So what if we rethink the term “user experience” in our digital age? What if user experience is how your core audiences experience your brand and school throughout the whole student lifecycle?
What if we finally decide that a cumbersome application process has serious implications on brand perception?
What if we think through a family’s full set of first impressions (there’s more than one— online and in person)? From making scheduling a visit easy to making sure the person that greets them when they arrive is warm, knowledgeable, and excited they are there.
What if the marcomm office trains the freshman orientation counselors on brand voice, tone, and promise?
What if understanding financial aid doesn’t feel like reading an IRS manual?
Digital and the “real world” converged a while ago, but they are treated as completely disparate experiences. Like many other industries (to be fair), higher ed marketing even segments staff and resources by digital and traditional mediums. It’s time to combine our powers, and bring the ideas, budgets, and teams together to build unified user experiences.