The Art of Education
HEAD OF THE CLASS
The Art of Education is an online professional development company for K-12 art teachers around the world. Founded as an online magazine, the company quickly learned that there was a large demand for professional development that was tailored to and relevant for art teachers. By the time they approached Happy Medium to build a new website, they had grown to offer graduate-level courses, lesson plans, videos and other resources for teachers. By 2016, their business quickly outgrew what their existing website could manage, and they looked to Happy Medium to build a site that could handle the traffic, complexity and growth rate of their company.
FILLING THE CANVAS
Happy Medium integrated the site with multiple external resources that AOE was already using such as Schoology, Freshdesk, Intercom, Wistia and Mailchimp. We integrated a custom social security number management system which took the AOE site to the next level of security and integration, a must for an online company. The new course catalog and checkout process gives users previously unavailable options, made purchasing easier and helped users feel more secure.
ORGANIZING THE ART ROOM
User testing was a critical element in ensuring the site was not only functional also intuitive, specifically for art teachers. Happy Medium’s UX team conducted remote and in-person user testing with actual AOE customers to test the checkout process and the site’s organization for flaws or gaps.
Happy Medium also helped organize the tremendous amount of content on the site into categories and created a visual system of organization using color and icons to help users navigate through the site and find the content that was most relevant to them at a given time.
After the new site was launched, AOE saw improvements across the board. Internal site searches increased by 67%, unique users rose by 21% and all users were looking at 16% more pages and staying on the site 20% longer than they were before. The site’s MailChimp integration saw above-average open and click-through rates. AOE saw a reduction in customer service requests and an increase in staff efficiency because of improvements on the site.
The Art of Education already had a large and active audience—Happy Medium was able to make it easier for them to engage with the company that they love.
After the launch of the initial site, the Art of Education added a new product, Art Ed PRO, that offered teachers and administrators regular content. Unlike any previous product, PRO included a new subscription-based pricing model, along with two unique user types, one with different permissions from the other. These different permissions meant two very different web experiences. To anticipate user needs, we created a UX “war room,” wherein design, development and UX all spent multiple days outlining the user flows of each user type. We identified conditional changes and key touch points that helped us better understand how users would interact with the site, from product discovery to purchase to account management. This established an invaluable foundation for us to understand the product on a fundamental level.
Because PRO has distinct user types, we wanted to be sure to do usability and marketing research with each to ensure comprehension and product viability. In all, we performed three rounds of remote usability interviews, which provided fruitful feedback from all kinds of issues, from how to price the product to where users faced confusion when trying to complete a task on the site. By performing usability testing prior to launch of the new product, we were able to preemptively stop and repair issues to the site before they led to potential problems—that could have caused a loss in profits.