UX Transformation


1. Company

Arbutus College is a post-secondary institution that provides an exceptional education in communication and professional skills in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia.

2. Problem

After a change in ownership, Arbutus College faced challenges with student enrollments, which were worsened by staff departures. The situation deteriorated, with student numbers reaching an all-time low.

3. Challenge

I was tasked with a mission to stabilize and enhance the number of student enrollments while operating within tight budget.

4. Research

Utilizing a combination of market analysis, competitive landscape assessments, interviews, and surveys, I gained valuable insights into the factors influencing student enrollment decisions.

5. Outcome

The implemented changes led to an impressive 92% year-over-year increase in enrollments, alongside a substantial 25% surge in organic traffic.



I engaged in detailed interviews with the top ten most active educational consultants. Through open-ended questions, I sought to capture their authentic perspectives and insights on our student experience.


Drawing from the recurring themes and feedback gathered in these interviews, I proceeded to conduct a survey targeting numerous other agents. This served to validate the data and ensure a comprehensive understanding of their perspectives.


Areas of Strength

Positive student experience

Students consistently report high levels of satisfaction with the program, citing the quality of instruction and the supportive learning environment.

Vibrant community

Students enjoy being part of a vibrant and dynamic community of learners, with ample opportunities to connect and engage with their peers.

Highly qualified teachers

The instructors at the school are known for their expertise in their respective fields and are dedicated to providing students with a rigorous and rewarding learning experience.

Convenient location

The school is located in the heart of downtown, providing easy access to a wide range of cultural and recreational activities.

Areas of Opportunity

Unclear acceptance criteria

The admissions process was perceived as unclear, as some applicants received acceptances while others were rejected, and the criteria used by the admissions team were not always apparent to the agents assisting the candidates.

Delayed communication

Enrollment changes were communicated through email, with some clients reporting a lengthy two-week wait for a response, while others received no reply at all.

Unfriendly communication

Students consistently report high levels of satisfaction with the program, citing the quality of instruction and the supportive learning environment.

Frustration with School Website

Clients expressed frustration with the school's website, which was heavily criticized and deemed insufficient in providing basic information and support.


Communication Issues

The communication didn't meet our customers' expectations, either in tone or response time, which was detrimental to our service. Unclear acceptance criteria and delayed or unfriendly communication can lead to frustration, impacting the institution's reputation and user experience.

Website Frustration

Users faced challenges finding information on the website, prompting them to explore other college options. This emphasized the disconnect between user expectations and website functionality, highlighting the need for enhancements to improve user experience to drive business outcomes.

Research 2

Ethnographic research

I conducted both internal and external research, further exploring my initial investigations. Externally, I observed agents interacting with students, while internally, I monitored application processes and observed the admission team. Through this comprehensive approach, I identified areas for improvement in communication and gained insight into the information lacking on our website.

Usability testing

Extending our earlier research, we initiated usability testing to explore specific concerns in more depth and identify opportunities for enhancement. Our findings underscored the importance of enhancing navigation, optimizing accessibility, streamlining information presentation, and implementing an efficient online application process tailored to students' needs.


Communication Issues

We implemented optimized email management strategies. By streamlining our email processes, we aimed to improve the tone and response time of our communications. Additionally, we recognized the burden placed on staff members due to manual tasks and sought to alleviate this through automation, allowing them to focus on more value-added activities and providing better support to our customers.

Website Frustration

Redesigned the website for better navigation and accessibility, and providing staff training. Additionally, we streamlined the application process with a digital form, simplifying procedures and reducing manual workload. Overall, these efforts aimed to enhance user experience, alleviate frustration, and improve operational efficiency.


Enrollments saw a 92% increase, driven by a fivefold rise in conversions.

After thorough research and design refinement, I've created a website that exceeds its predecessor in every aspect. Through careful analysis of user behavior and feedback, I've optimized the site to deliver the most relevant information intuitively to our students and agents.