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A UX research customer success story

Competitive analysis for a top-tier university

The Brand

A leading medical university on the east coast, known for offering ground-breaking medical training


Identify opportunities to increase engagement, Request Information submissions, and application on the website.

Establish how the online programs were perceived based on page formatting and content provided.

The University wanted to understand how their online programs performed compared to their direct competitors.

Our approach

JHU Approach
Unmoderated desktop study

5 participants were given the same series of tasks to complete via UserTesting.com’s platform, a User Testing platform that records user experience session for further analysis.

Target demographic

Audience specific participants were recruited based on: Gender, Income, Device, and Geographic Location. The participants who made it through the first screening process were further filtered based on 9 screener questions for further refinement.


A series of 27 tasks were written around the key challenges (identified above) to discover the participants experience on our clients online degree programs.

JHU Approach
JHU Approach JHU Approach

Key observations and trends are compiled by UX Research Analysts. Our top key learnings were as follows:

  • Overall, participants preferred the competitor’s page because it presents information in a clear manner that doesn’t require the user to perform in-depth searches for answers.
  • Location and completion flexibility along with cost of the program are the most important factors when participants are deciding on what online university program to attend.
  • Participants liked the clear breakdown of all associated program costs up front as well as the career outlook information.
  • Participants expressed a desire to drill down to very specific information about the degree program.
  • Participants want to know about the flexibility of the program before beginning the enrollment process.
  • Most students would initiate direct contact with the school before beginning the application process.


Recommendations are developed and delivered based off of the key observations and trends identified in the analysis phase and are as follows:

  • Add Short Descriptions or Keywords to Each Section
  • Create Table Comparing Part-Time vs. Full-Time Degree Programs
  • Highlight the Flexibility of the Part-Time Online Program
  • Add Links to Curriculum Detail Pages
  • Place a Greater Emphasis on Online Course Options

JHU outcome

Study outcome

Competitors Page Preferred

The competitor’s page was preferred overall because of the level of detailed content provided. Though the client’s page wasn’t the preference of participants, the study identified that the main issues users experience and provided recommendations to improve the design and overall experience.

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