LingoSpace

Website redesign for an online language school to establish trust and credibility

OVERVIEW

LingoSpace is an online language school offering 1:1 classes for Mandarin, Malay, and Japanese. The company approached me with the challenge to redesign their website to increase its trust and credibility with new potential customers.

With the founder and developer, I worked around a limited development budget to redesign LingoSpace’s responsive website.

Client
LingoSpace

Team
Lucille Tang (Product Design), Agnieszka Urbanowicz (Developer), Rachael T (Founder)

CHALLENGE

Language learners find LingoSpace to be untrustworthy

LingoSpace struggles to gain new language students and hopes to increase its website credibility and trustworthiness. Initial user feedback revealed that foreign language learners did not trust to give their business to LingoSpace and were frustrated by usability issues on the website.

“Is this site a scam? This company doesn’t feel legitimate.”

“I won’t feel confident with booking; a lot of course info feels missing.”

SOLUTION

Responsive website redesign to build trust & credibility

I redesigned LingoSpace’s responsive website with the goal of establishing the small business as a credible language school for foreign language students.

Increased user trust & credibility by 26%. I used the SUPR-Q standardized questionnaire to evaluate usability, appearance, loyalty, trust and credibility. Trust and credibility alone increased by 26%.

Clear sense of teachers

My research showed that teacher personality and teaching style, instead of pricing, influences student decision-making the most.

Transparent pricing upfront

From my user research, it was I realized that LingoSpace’s pricing is actually a strength compared to competitors, so pricing is clearly displayed instead of being hidden.

Risk-free decision-making

Students considered new language classes as a big investment, so I changed the booking process to be a risk-free registration form instead.

Business goals & technical constraints

LingoSpace’s main goal was to increase trust in its courses, which would ultimately lead to higher conversion rates. The founder had not been able to have any success on paid marketing campaigns and still has to manually reach out to people on social media in order to convert customers.

Rachael T., LingoSpace Founder:

“I’d like for people to be able to trust LingoSpace based on the website itself. I’m tired of constantly having to message potential customers via Facebook groups and online forums.”

Technical Constraints. The client also had a limited budget for the developer, so I was given the constraint to keep site functionalities minimal and easy to develop.

RESEARCH

My primary research objective was to understand how people decide between language learning websites and discover any opportunities to make the decision-making process easier.

A competitor SWOT analysis leads to an improved conversion funnel

From performing a SWOT competitive analysis, I discovered the following insights that led to LingoSpace changing from a course checkout process to a registration interest form instead.

Most small- to mid-sized language schools have online interest forms on their websites, instead of being able to directly purchase courses.

Smaller schools, like LingoSpace, may not have enough reviews or reputation for students to confidently purchase on the 1st visit.

Contextual inquiries reveal decision-making factors

Previously, I thought that price was the #1 factor for students to choose one school over the other, but contextual inquiry interviews revealed that price only matters to a certain threshold. More importantly:

Teachers, not pricing, are the most influential factor. Language students still cared about pricing under a threshold, but the most influential factors in their decision-making were the teacher’s personality and teaching style.  

Allowing risk-free decisions leads to higher conversions. Students find taking language classes as a big investment, so most ended up choosing companies that allowed them to make an initial risk-free decision (e.g., free introductory call, 1st class discounted, etc.).

Flexible curriculums that focus on individual needs. People were looking for teachers that made classes fun and relevant to what they wish to learn. As LingoSpace provides this flexibility, this gave me the opportunity to better emphasize this point.

DEFINE

Reducing cognitive load with the info architecture

To reduce cognitive load, I simplified the information architecture from 8 to 6 primary navigation items.

Should “Pricing” be its own page? I initially thought pricing should be nested within language pages so users could see the full value offered. However, LingoSpace’s pricing is actually a strength compared to competitors. So for full transparency, pricing became both its own page and found in each course page.

DESIGN

Preference testing with sketches

Mandarin Course page. Users preferred to see course-specific testimonials to get a better sense of the class and favored a general course overview, instead of full curriculum details. Preference testing also allowed me to see which individual sections resonated the most with users.

Stakeholder alignment on the core flow

I created mid-fidelity wireframes to get alignment with the client before moving on into high-fidelity. From here, let’s deep-dive into my teacher bio iterations found on the language course page.

Challenge: Figuring out how to balance differing user and business needs

How might we help students get a better sense of the teacher and teaching style...

...without focusing too much on individual teachers, in order to give new teachers an equal opportunity.

My biggest UX challenge was balancing user and business needs for teacher bios. Users wanted to get a better sense of the teacher; however, LingoSpace wanted to de-emphasize teacher bios to give everybody an equal chance. Let’s focus on my design decisions for this in the next section.

Explorations for teacher bios

I went through multiple iterations trying to balance users wanting a deeper dive into a teacher’s teaching style and expertise, with the business wanting to focus less on bios in order to give new teachers an equal chance to get students.

Iteration #1: Too much individual focus on the teacher, not as easy to scale and give equal chance to new teachers.

Iteration #2: Users were frustrated with not immediately seeing teacher details and some didn’t realize that the teacher profile cards were clickable.

Iteration #3: The client gave feedback that this design gave too much spotlight on individual teachers and takes up too much real estate.

Final Solution: Making a fine balance between user needs, business needs, and tech constraints.

TESTING

I tested the prototype with 5 target users to uncover the following insights for my next iterations.

Insights from Usability Testing

More options, more problems. Previously, I offered two main options — register or schedule a 15-minute call with the founding teacher. However, students were confused and thought the free call was a trial class. So I then recommended to have the 15-minute Q&A call option only in the welcome email after registration.

Button copy should match with user expectations. I changed the main call-to-action button copy from “Sign up” to “Register now,” as people expected sign up to mean creating an account. “Register” is more associated with a course interest form and used commonly on other language course websites as well.

Provide ways to scale across time zones. LingoSpace preferred to match students based on time range preferences, but people may have different availabilities per day and per week. My solution was to have students choose their time zone and preferred days of the week, so that LingoSpace could give teacher choices with overlapping times available.

Design-to-development handoffs

The design handoff process went smoothly, as the developer and I had always communicated early and often. I also built upon LingoSpace’s existing design system and created scalable components to help speed up the development process for the responsive website.

CONCLUSION

Reflecting on Results and Learnings

Results (SUPR-Q, 1-5 scale). Using the SUPR-Q standardized questionnaire with 10 users for both the new and old designs, I was able to track the impact on site usability, appearance, loyalty, and trust & credibility (1-5 scale). I was successful in achieving LingoSpace’s main business goal with increasing trust & credibility alone by 26%.

4.9 Usability

↑21% increase vs. old design

4.6 Trust & Credibility

↑26% increase vs. old design

5.0 Appearance

↑61% increase vs. old design

4.3 Loyalty

↑66% increase vs. old design

Learnings. I learned that collaboration and communication with different functions early and often create the best solutions for both the users and business. Hosting an ideation workshop with various cross-functional teams allowed for diverse thinking and ideation early on for this project, as everybody came from different perspectives and even international backgrounds. And now, diversity and collaboration are things that I greatly value and work to uphold within my design process.