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Transforming ESPD Online School: 300% increase in first quarter tuition bookings

Despite running the business for one and a half years and investing approximately £25,000 in advertising and regulatory efforts, they struggled to generate the desired return on investment (ROI).

My Role

Team Leader (product designer & manager)

Duration

4 sprints

Key Stakeholders

ESPD Team (Management, social media, and marketing)

Team Vixion (Designers, front-end,
and back-end engineers)

overview

Espd is an online school providing high-quality tuition services in the UK. Their unique selling propositions include teachers with a minimum of 3 years of UK experience, all holding Qualified Teaching Status (QTS), and undergoing Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

I spearheaded the business development initiative, playing a pivotal role in organizing, strategizing, conceptualizing, designing, and prototyping. This encompassed revamping the business model, overall branding, and the website, all rooted in a deep understanding of unmet customer needs.

Highlights

A glimpse of the final design

1.1
Access arrangements with file uploading prototype
animated loop
1.2
Admin panel filtering system
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Target audiences

Who are we solving for?

The primary customers are parents, occasionally including students, while the end users encompass both students and teachers.

User feedbacks:

  • Cumbersome manual processes impede workflow and evoke frustration.
  • The outdated, non-user-friendly portal demands excessive mental and physical effort.
  • Users face task incompletions, resulting in wasted time.

product discovery

Breaking Grounds, Crafting Solutions

Research summary

A glimpse into our research journey

Over the course of several meetings, spanning approximately 7-8 sessions throughout the past summer, I engaged in extensive discussions with students, parents, teachers, and the ESPD management team. Here I'd like to highlight few key insights I got from my research:

Due to the sensitivity of certain data & safeguarding issues, I may not able to share all details.

1. The ocean is red

In a crowded market, ESPD Online School found itself in a sea of competitors, all vying for attention.

2. Top priority to the customers

When I spoke with existing customers about why they preferred ESPD over other platforms, they consistently emphasized the crucial factors of teachers' experience, qualification status, and DBS check status in their decision. Unlike many competitors with numerous unqualified teachers, ESPD gained a competitive advantage by prioritising these critical aspects.

3. Chasing the Horizon

ESPD found itself at a significant competitive disadvantage, as most rivals had more advanced products. To compete, ESPD needed to surpass the baseline and outshine the competition.

User feedbacks:

  • Cumbersome manual processes impede workflow and evoke frustration.
  • The outdated, non-user-friendly portal demands excessive mental and physical effort.
  • Users face task incompletions, resulting in wasted time.
2.1
Meeting with ESPD Director (Left) and a snapshot of research canvas (right)
image

The Problem space

Delving into the underlying factors behind the problems

As a first-principle thinker, I see problems as symptoms, believing that there must be underlying causes contributing to the issues we encounter.

1. Flawed business model.

ESPD lacks a viable business model, with deficiencies in cost structure, customer segmentation, and a clear value proposition.

2. Significant usability issues.

The existing tuition booking and payment method suffer from common usability issues and functionality problems, leading to a high volume of calls from students seeking assistance with payment and booking details.

3. Unorganized teacher profiles fail to attract students and parents.

Incomplete details in teachers' profiles pose a challenge in convincing students to book their services. Essential information, such as qualifications, availability, and covered exam boards, is unavailable. The dropout rate on this page is nearly 99%. Furthermore, the lack of direct communication channels hinders students from asking questions or conveying special requirements directly to the teachers.

4. Teachers' availability poses a significant challenge.

Averaging only 2-3 hours per week, often not aligning with students' preferred booking times. So students are booking tuitions from competitors. Even if a teacher manages a full 3 hours weekly, ESPD generates a modest income of around £20-24 (£7-8 per hour). This falls short, especially considering the high customer acquisition cost.

5. Poor system draining tasks efficiency.

Inability for teachers to set availability hampers efficient salary processing, requiring manual calculations through emails or Stripe transactions. The absence of a performance tracking system and a time-consuming manual recruitment process further compound the challenges.

Read Usability Audit Report

Read Usability Audit Report

The home page is the Achilles' heel of the entire website

High level audit - home page
image

The teacher's profile didn't appeal to customers

High level audit -  teacher's profile
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It's hard to find the way

High level audit -  search result page
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A process with full of frictions

High level audit -  booking page
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Objectives & Key results (OKRs)

Our goals: Achieve a favourable Return on Investment (ROI)

We aimed to achieve this goal by restructuring the business model, rebranding, introducing intuitive tuition types, making the booking and payment process seamless, establishing transparent communication channels between teachers, parents, and students, and providing essential education resources.

challenges

Confronting the essential limitations

1. Low budget

Creating the solution with only 5% of the total budget for advanced systems posed a challenge. We strategically integrated third-party APIs to cut costs and deliver a fully functional product.

2. Trade-offs (business v/s customer)

I had to deal with couple of challenging design decisions. ESPD management wanted to introduce some features such as personalised group tuition, when the primary customer group showed concern.

Jobs to be done & variables of success

Understanding the purpose of use and the
value parameters of the users.

When users perceive a product or service, various forms of value are typically added to their lives, whether functional, emotional, social, or life-changing. Therefore, comprehending the tasks users aim to accomplish within your product and the value parameters they use to measure task success is crucial for creating the right value for users.

View JTBD Breakdown for admins

3.1
Breakdown of the Jobs to be Done
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Success metrics

The key indicator of the business

To measure the success of our design I set a primary metric (North Star) and a couple of secondary metrics.

4.1
Metrics we are tracking
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Updated user flow

Setting up the right direction

To optimise the journey for a new customer attempting to book a tuition, I have completely revamped the user flow to make it seamless.

5.1
Updated user flow - New customer tuition booking
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Visual design direction

The definitive guide to consistency and scalability

Layout grids

We designed a mobile first website. So, a standard set of layout grids and breakpoints (Figure 6.1), was critical in ensuring we could design and build quickly and consistently.

6.1
Layout grid - ESPD School
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Introducing positive energy, vibrance, and creativity

Since the end users of this platforms are the students aged 12-18. So, I decided to introduce positivity, energy, vibrance, and creativity throughout the brand because adolescents often prefer brighter and more dynamic colors that reflect their energy and modern tastes.

6.2
Rebranding
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Scalable design system

In pursuit of a seamless and consistent design process, I meticulously crafted a comprehensive design system for this project. This section provides a glimpse of its implementation.

6.3
Design component - Colors & typography
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6.4
Design component - Teacher card
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Solutions

As a desginer I believe, you have to have logical explanation of every design decision you make. To make this process easier I follow a standard set of questions while designing a particular screen or a complete user flow.

I believe, if a designer keeps these questions in mind while designing, he/she will never design wrong solutions. This process also helps designers to iterate better and the engineers and managers to understand the design and make constructive feedbacks.

What is the intent of the users to use this flow or screen?

What information are they seeking, and which details require more attention?

What are the actions that can be done in this particular screen or flow?

How can we make sure smooth navigation?

How can we help the users to make better decision faster?

Solution 01 - Redesigned homepage

Integration of engaging sales funnel

A seamless design that catches everyone's attention

We completely revamped the homepage design by integrating an engaging funnel that attracts customers and guides them to make purchase decisions swiftly.

This design proved effective, leading to a notable reduction in the dropout rate from the homepage.

7.1
Home page sales funnel - part 1
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7.2
Home page sales funnel - part 2
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Solution 02 - comprehensive teacher's profile

Generating sales with a magic touch

The redesigned teacher profiles serve as a focal point, allowing customers to quickly assess key factors like qualifications, experience, security checks, subjects, reviews, pricing, and availability, influencing purchasing decisions at a glance.

Significantly reduced the drop-off rate on the teacher's profile page.

Leading to a 300% increase in tuition bookings within the first quarter compared to the previous year.

8.1
New teacher's profile mobile screen
prototype
8.2
New teacher's profile desktop screen
prototype

Solution 03 - booking & payment

Efficient system made the tuition booking process intuitive and effortless

We streamlined the booking process by introducing simple features and transparent communication channels. Now, students/parents can easily select their level, subject, and preferred time from the available calendar, write personal messages or special requests through direct communication channel, and proceed to the payment page.

Direct communication with teachers is also facilitated. Upon payment, the system automatically updates their dashboard, and users receive email and phone notifications, ensuring a smoother and more transparent booking experience.

Eliminated the frictions and it made drastic impact in tuition booking.

Ensured seamless booking experience.

Established direct communication channel.

9.1
Smooth booking process - Mobile screen
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9.2
Payment methods - Desktop screen
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Solution 03 - seamless search & filter

Optimising the user journey

We totally improvised the overall information architecture and implemented advanced search and filtering options, providing users with easy access to the information they need.

Simplifies the process of finding a suitable teacher, offering a more user-friendly experience.

10.1
Smooth searching and filtering
prototype

Solution 05 - custom dashboard for students and teachers

Personalisation made it simple

We introduced personalised dashboards for both teachers and students, empowering the teachers with control over their classes, performance tracking, and schedules. It also allows students to easily check upcoming, cancelled, and completed classes, providing a seamless experience.

Improved the task efficiency of the teachers, students, and the school managements significantly.

11.1
Setting up weekly teaching hours
Prototype
11.2
Teacher's dashboard
image

Solution 06 - Super tutor

Gamifying the experience of the teachers

We implemented a unique feature called the "Super Tutor" badge to gamify the teachers' experience. This badge is awarded based on their performance and activity, acting as a motivating factor.

Significantly increased teacher availability, effectively doubling the hours they are available each week.

12.1
Super tutor badge
image

Design impact

We made a significant impact

300%

More Bookings

Our design solution significantly boosted ESPD's business, leading to a remarkable 300% increase in the tuition booking rate in first quarter compared to the previous year.

High

Task Efficiency

The implementation of personalized dashboard, enhanced search and filtering capabilities, performance tracking options, and a streamlined booking/payment process resulted remarkable improvement in task efficiency for the ESPD Team, students, and teachers.

Key takeways

Insights and skills gained from this project

1. Learnt to develop business model & foster growth

This project was particularly challenging, involving tasks from restructuring the fundamental business model to defining success metrics. It provided numerous learning opportunities for me.

2. Handling tradeoffs perfectly

The experience honed my decision-making skills, particularly in navigating challenging circumstances that required handling controversial moves.

3. Building solutions in a low budget

I gained insights into balancing the creation of a comprehensive product while adhering to tight budget constraints.

Client's testimonial

What ESPD director says about me

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