Design for Use & nrccua: ux personas & journeys


Problem: The National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA) dominates the American higher education recruiting market. When colleges and universities want to order a list of student recruits, their purchase is typically made through NRCCUA representatives via phone. Although the organization has a multi-product online search interface, clients are not currently able to effectively tailor and purchase lists online. Our team at Design for Use was charged with creating a new ecommerce system to automate these interactions. We began by researching our client's goals and their definitions of success. Then we researched and defined key user types, describing each of their ideal journeys in relation to the new system.

NRC User Profiles and Journeys - v1_Page_01.jpg

Phase 1: Stakeholder and User Interviews


  • Participants: 12 participants were interviewed including c-level executives, internal stakeholders, and representative higher education admissions staff.
  • Content: Each interviewee addressed product vision, project goals, user types, ideal features, precedents, competition, challenges, and markers of success.


phase 2: cooperative design workshop


  • Goal: Explore and refine user types based on the information acquired during stakeholder interviews.
  • Exercise 1: Break up into three groups and brainstorm around user activities and stories related to the product.
  • Exercise 2: Collaborate as one large group to further refine user identities.
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phase 3: user personas & journeys


I created 3 personas, described each user's ideal journey, and created a series of matrices detailing frequency and distribution of user goals. I presented my findings during a follow-up meeting with the head of product. We discussed the user personas that resulted from our research and refined our collective strategy for future sprints.

task matrix nrccua.jpg

phase 4: user story backlog


The lead designer and I created a user story backlog that defined the relationships between project goals, use types, and overall project timeline.

user story backlog nrccua.jpg