Putting the customer at the heart of your digital experience

Rebecca GillAhead of AMBA’s Inaugural Conference for Business School Professionals, we caught up with one of the speakers Dr Rebecca Gill, User Experience Director at Bunnyfoot to find out more about her presentation which will focus on helping business school professionals improve their digital offering…

Can you give us some sneak peaks about what you’ll be discussing in your presentation in Porto

Our session is designed to help you understand the power of evidence-based design. Often we see designs fail because they have been designed around opinion rather than getting inside the head of your customers. We aim to give you some tools to use straight away to help improve your website or digital service. 

How important is a business school’s website when it comes to attracting the highest calibre of MBA student? 

Your website is often the first point of call for anyone interested in the service. It’s important your site is delivering the information they are looking for and that this information is easy to access - providing a frustrating experience or leaving the students with unanswered questions or no next step is not going to be the best start to the relationship. Imagine if they have received a recommendation for your business school – you want the user experience on the site to continue to positively reinforce that recommendation. 

Can you give us a couple of tips on how to improve a website’s digital offering? What’s the first thing we should think about? 

The first thing you should always think about is your user. Many companies spend a lot of time designing a website or service and never have any contact with people who will actually use it. When they launch the site, they may not be achieving the results they had expected and it could be down to very simple things that would be seen earlier had they tested the site with people who are the end users. So my top tips are seek to understand your users’ needs and do usability testing (the earlier the better). 

Is there a ‘style over substance’ debate here? 

Style and branding are obviously very important but, no matter how beautiful, or visually appealing to the audience, if the site doesn’t provide the content and functionality they need, it isn’t going to work for you. It’s important to make sure any design does not interfere with the reason people are coming to the site – to achieve a goal. We always design a site in wireframes (black and white with no design) at the beginning and test it with users to ensure you have the basics of usability and needs are met, prior to starting visual design. Many companies follow design trends for no other reason than 'others are doing it' – there should always be a good reason for following any patterns, and again, if you test them first, you will see if they work.

Dr Rebecca Gill’s research career started out in Animal Behavior at Oxford University, focusing on decision making and risk sensitivity. After making the switch to humans and market research, Rebecca eventually joined Bunnyfoot, where for the last 10 years, she has been helping clients put their customers at the heart of their design process, resulting in more usable, engaging and profitable user experiences.

Rebecca is responsible for the user and customer needs research within Bunnyfoot and has lead projects for The National Archives, Houses of Parliament, Oxfam, B&Q, The Financial Ombudsman, HFEA, Legislation.org.uk and Compare the Market. Rebecca also teaches the Certified Professional for Usability and User Experience Foundation course. 

Rebecca has a Professional Diploma in Marketing (CIM) and a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing (Dip DigM) and is a member of the UXPA. In her spare time Rebecca loves to grow veg, cook and travel. One day she’ll get back to exploring the underwater world. 

Rebecca will be speaking at AMBA’s Inaugural Conference for Business School Professionals in Porto, taking place on 14 and 15 June 2016.