Creating a leading university experience through UX research

Full name
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Macquarie University partnered with us to enhance their student experience and improve retention rates. Through our expertise in service design and research, we uncovered valuable insights and provided actionable recommendations. This resulted in increased satisfaction, improved engagement, and transformative changes within the university's operations.

Our collaboration empowered students, furthered Macquarie University’s student-centric culture, and cemented their position as a leader in delivering an exceptional student experience.

Nurturing innovation and excellence in higher education

Macquarie University is a hub of inspired thinking and a beacon for innovation. Established in 1964, Macquarie University has steadily become a leading research institution with a robust commitment to its students and an enduring dedication to the betterment of society.

With a diverse community of over 40,000 students and 2,000 staff members, the university is known for its first-class facilities, highly respected academics, and a rich array of programs.

Always striving for excellence, Macquarie University contacted us to further enhance their capabilities and meet their strategic objectives. Their goal is to bring pioneering ideas to life while creating a lasting impact, making their partnership with us a compelling opportunity to craft superior solutions.

Macquarie University's leads the way in student experience innovation

Macquarie University approached us with the goal of enhancing the student experience and improving student retention rates. They recognised the need to understand the current experience of their students, prospective students, and alumni across various stages of their journey.

Nick Simpson, our Head of UX explains, "Macquarie wanted to solve the challenges faced by their students and identify areas that could be improved or leveraged to enhance and uplift the overall student experience."

The objectives set by Macquarie University were twofold. First, they aimed to gain deep insights into the student journey, including applying for university, students’ sense of belonging, learning experience, transitioning, networking, and post-study engagement. Second, they sought to use these insights to identify challenges and frustrations, which could be turned into opportunities for improvement.

Research-driven insights transforms Macquarie University's student experience

Macquarie University chose our services because of our expertise in user research and our ability to conduct comprehensive studies on the student experience.

We employed a three-phase research approach to tackle their objectives.

First, we conducted workshops with stakeholders and business representatives to understand the university's perspective on the student experience. This allowed us to align our research with their goals and gain insights into potential problem areas. We then conducted a series of student workshops to cross-reference this information from the perspective of their students, and broadly identify key points to delve into with deeper research methods.

Next, we organised interviews and diary studies with students to gain firsthand knowledge of their experiences. This qualitative research approach enabled us to uncover student challenges, and aspirations. By presenting video snippets and direct quotes from the students, we provided Macquarie's stakeholders with a clear and authentic understanding of the student perspective.

Finally, we conducted quantitative surveys to validate our qualitative findings and gather broader student feedback. This allowed us to identify trends and patterns and provide concrete metrics to support our recommendations.

The research findings were consolidated into a comprehensive user journey, highlighting pain points, goals, and opportunities for improvement. With this rich data, and alongside our recommendations for approaches to opportunities, Macquarie University was able to implement a series of projects aimed at enhancing the student experience, such as streamlining the enrolment process and improving support for fee payments.

Quantifiable benefits and positive outcomes for Macquarie University

By leveraging our expertise in service design and conducting in-depth research, we were able to uncover valuable insights and develop actionable recommendations.

One of the key outcomes has been the enhancement of the ‘starting’ phase of Macquarie University’s student journey, leading to increased satisfaction and improved engagement. By addressing pain points and streamlining processes such as enrolment, fees, and accessing information, we created a more user-friendly and intuitive digital experience. 

"We have seen positive feedback and measurable improvements from the digital projects Airteam worked on. Our surveys and opt-in user feedback mechanisms have shown a positive response from students, indicating the value of the changes implemented." – Kevin Raccani, CX Manager, Macquarie University

Moreover, our work led to transformative changes in the university's internal operations and decision-making processes. This resulted in the implementation of initiatives aimed at fostering an increased sense of belonging and community, such as reintroducing ceremonies and promoting social events.

"The collaboration with Airteam provided us with valuable insights and recommendations that helped us address pain points and improve the student experience. We have implemented several initiatives based on their findings, such as streamlining processes and enhancing support services." – Kevin Raccani, CX Manager, Macquarie University

Our work with Macquarie University not only influenced the digital transformation initiatives but also triggered the creation of new roles within the university, including the hiring of a service designer. 

"The results of the first project with Airteam changed everyone's mindset. It opened our eyes to the possibilities and led us to hire a service designer. They delivered beyond our expectations and created a cultural shift within our organisation." – Kevin Raccani, CX Manager, Macquarie University

By leveraging service design principles and a deep understanding of the student experience, together we have empowered students, improved satisfaction, and facilitated the university's journey towards excellence.

Through our user-centric approach and transformative recommendations, Macquarie University has gained a competitive advantage, setting itself apart as a leader in providing an exceptional student experience.

Leading the way in student-centred education

As Macquarie University embarks on further endeavours, we remain a supportive partner of theirs, helping to deliver continued excellence in the student experience.

"Airteam's involvement in our projects has been a positive experience. Their expertise and understanding of our needs have made them a valuable partner. We look forward to working with them on future projects." – Kevin Raccani, CX Manager, Macquarie University

If you would like to learn more about our work with Macquarie University or how we might be able to do the same for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can reach out via our contact form here.