Audience-focused website

We completed an in-depth discovery process, incorporating quantitative conversion analysis, content analysis, search intent analysis and user testing to identify areas of opportunity for improvement. 

Written by Cath Foster

Audience-focused website optimisation

Client: Open University Business Development Unit
Sector: Charity
Services: User Research, CRO, ContentSearch Intent

The Open University Business Development Unit (BDU) team delivers market-leading staff development services, including apprenticeships and funded degrees. The team felt their current website was not meeting its customers' needs, and there were opportunities for improvement. The website had been developed organically over time and required a clear, strategic approach to optimisation.

The challenge

The services delivered by the BDU team are amongst the best in the country. Used by three-quarters of FTSE 100 companies, the team has worked with over 2,500 businesses to develop their staff. However, the website did not reflect this, and more was needed to promote their core offering. The website was also hard to navigate, and there was a clear opportunity to improve both user experience and search engine visibility.

The BDU team approached Fresh Egg to understand what their users wanted from the website and how it could meet those needs. A project was scoped to understand whether the website's content and UI were effective and if not, then provide recommendations for improvement.

The desired output was prioritised achievable actions, including what content to keep, optimise or remove, and recommendations on improving the user journey.

We reached out to Fresh Egg to determine how effective the existing Open University Business Development Unit content and UI were at engaging with our core audiences.

Through their audience-led analysis of our existing data, in-depth interviews with our audience and detailed search intent discovery work, there were several clear opportunities to improve organic visibility, enquiries and overall website engagement.

Throughout the project, we had constant contact, and at each stage, Fresh Egg took us through the process of what they had learnt and what this meant for us moving forwards. Fresh Egg presented findings in an uncomplicated format that allowed us to collaboratively work at prioritising to get critical actions live onto the website as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Freyja Taylor-Law, Marketing Officer – Digital and CRM

Our solution

We began the project with some analysis of the BDU team’s website analytics. This output gave us an understanding of how users interacted with their website and helped us identify some initial areas of opportunity for optimisation.

We then utilised a stakeholder workshop to find out more about their relationship with their customers, and where across the current website the team believed there was room for improvement.

The workshop provided us with an opportunity to learn more about the focus audiences, so we completed empathy mapping and content journey mapping exercises to discover who the website was targeting and what types of content currently existed. This activity also started to give us insights into where website content could be improved and added.

Following the stakeholder workshop, we ran sessions with the target audience; those responsible for staff development in large organisations. These sessions included both audience interviews and user testing. The output helped us identify core user needs and better understand where the website failed to meet these needs.

Given that increasing organic visibility was one of the key objectives of this project, we also assessed how the target audiences were conducting searches. We split relevant queries into micro-moments to understand the user intent behind different search criteria. This output then informed recommendations around adding to or improving onsite content.

Once complete, we gained a strong understanding of user needs. With the information, we were able to complete a full heuristic assessment of the website and focus on areas where improvements could be made.

The research provided the BDU team with a final set of prioritised achievable actions. The in-house team is now in the process of implementing the changes with ongoing support and involvement from Fresh Egg.

Our digital expert, Cath says

Headshot of Cath Foster

It was great to be involved with this project. We got to interview some fascinating people and learn a lot about staff development along the way. I'm confident that implementing the recommendations will help ensure that the website reflects the BDU team's excellent service.

Cath Foster, User Research Director

Discover more about our audience-led approach

The outcome

The Business Development Unit at The Open University has a comprehensive, actionable strategy for optimising its website. The in-house team fully engaged with and bought into the recommendations due to the collaborative way we run projects at Fresh Egg, involving our clients throughout every stage of the process.

The BDU team now has a clear roadmap for progressive website transformation, ensuring that their website reflects user needs more consistently and improves audience engagement.


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