Secrets from the Inigral Design Team

I’ve worked at a lot of companies, but none that have impressed me more than the team at Inigral. I wanted to share with the higher ed. community an insider’s view on our design team’s process.

Howard Kao is one of our lead product designers and Mike Petroff is an amazing client who acts as a resource, sounding board, and brainstorming partner on how to improve the student experience with technology.

Below are notes I borrowed from Howard’s “design interview” call we had last week. I wanted to share it with the higher ed. community and ask if you have a similar experience collaborating with your solution providers.

These are Howard’s notes from his call with Mike Petroff last week: (un-edited besides a few Emerson related details)

Mike has three jobs:

  1. driving prospective students to apply
  2. building/maintaining the online tools they use to apply
  3. using online communities to encourage accepted students to deposit.

Facebook Presence

Emerson has separate Facebook Groups for incoming freshman, incoming transfers, and incoming graduate students because the needs of those groups are very different and the voices of the smaller groups would get lost amongst the freshman.

Emerson has talked about online community building for prospective students, but they haven’t seen much success/examples of how to connect a prospective student to an online community that actually leads to the student applying.

It’s a lot of effort to put them into a community and keep them engaged, especially when these students aren’t particularly engaged and they’re looking at 20 schools and applying to 10 and being accepted by 4.

Facebook Goals

The focus for prospective students is providing information about admissions and applying. For inquiries, it’s about reaching out and personalization; getting students and department heads to call them. For applicants and admits, it’s about customer service. Mike plans on using data from SchoolsApp to determine who is likely to deposit.

New Ideas and Future Initiatives

Next year, their going to provide more specific encouragement to use the Facebook  Application ie  “meet up with other admits before you come out” rather than “meet people”

One problem with the SchoolsApp is when you first get in, you don’t know what you’re supposed to do. One of the best features is being able to find other people from your hometown, but that’s kind of buried.

Emerson tries to use real life examples in their marketing, e.g. making student documentaries and putting them on youtube. What they don’t have is a way for prospective students to have a conversation with the students in those documentaries.

Hmm… Lot’s of interesting stuff to think about from Emerson’s marketing side to our Schools App. true customer feedback. The thing is, we not only listen. We also do.

What do you think of the dialogue?