Collaboration between higher education and companies can produce great mutual benefits in UX design. In the following I will describe my own experiences, starting as a student and proceeding as a Marketing Manager in a software company.
Oulu University and Oulu University of Applied Sciences offer a lot of courses in user experience. I have studied in both of these universities and my studies have been really eye-opening and interesting. I have participated in school projects both as a student and as a company representative.
The technological know-how of the Oulu region is great and well known. Schools also adapt their courses to match the needs of companies. It is often possible to write your thesis in cooperation with a company like I did.
Mind Business combines challenges and solutions
While writing my thesis, I used both the university´s design skills and the lessons learned in everyday business. I attended a new kind of interdisciplinary course at university called Mind Business. In this course, we got a challenge from the company and went through different models to solve the problem. Innovation in an interdisciplinary environment was beneficial for both students and companies. The course was implemented for the first time when I was studying. Back then I participated as a part of a student team.
The second time Mind Business course was held, I participated as a company representative and gave the students the challenge to be resolved from my workplace at Tecinspire. The topic was related to the redesign of the Tecinspire’s website, as we have identified the need to pay more attention to people’s experiences.
Marketing point of view
Students analysed our old website and noticed that the needs of different users had not been taken into account. They proposed their self-designated "three-door model" as a solution to this. Popular online stores use this kind of model to categorize products into the categories “children”, “women” and “men”. Students suggested limiting our product range to three and thinking about the passage of a visitor through these "doors”.
With this change, the user experience on our website changed completely and we have been pleased with the new design and user experience. The new website has more daily visitors, more conversions and it has enabled Tecinspire’s growth. I also wrote my own thesis about the renewal of the pages.
Thinking outside the box with an open mind usually brings good results, as in this case, working with the company and the school’s interdisciplinary team. Companies that participate in school projects offer real environments for students and can gain a lot out of the collaboration - like Tecinspire did.
Marketing Manager at Tecinspire
Student at University of Oulu Information Processing Science
Further information: www.tecinspire.com