My daughter turned three years in March. Yet, it was not the only important birthday party I attended. The Story+Structure team was invited to celebrate an event marking 100 years – a significant milestone to say the least!
The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) held their Centennial Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. – and they asked us to help them mark the occasion.
We were thrilled to be part of the festivities and to share our vision of human-centered design with the higher education community. The firm has been doing that since 2007. That’s right – we are celebrating our own birthday this year: Story+Structure is eight years old.
Dr. Jill Biden, the Second Lady of the United States, was the opening keynote speaker at the UPCEA Centennial conference. She made note of how educating nontraditional students is vital to the future of the country and the way to make that happen is to “…adapt to the students' needs in order to graduate more students.” Taking into account the needs of the students is the key to success. Her thinking aligns nicely with human-centered principles: make it all about the people.
When our Founder/CEO Chokdee Rutirasiri spoke at a UPCEA event in November 2007, he introduced the idea of developing systems that take into account the needs of the user. He spoke of human-centered design – design that begins from deep empathy and understanding of the needs and motivations of people. This approach leads to success: develop an experience that is comprehensive, thoughtful, and beautiful, and you increase your bottomline.
Our Chief Strategist, Guy Felder, was invited to present at this year's conference. He, along with Dan Bellone from California State University, East Bay, showcased the work we’ve done together to increase CSUEB's web engagement and greatly improve their user experience. The results have been impressive. Inquiries are up 700 percent since the launch of the site.
The dramatically increased engagement at CSUEB is more than just a number. Behind each inquiry is a person wanting to attain an education. A person who is trying to better his or her life. Our job during the engagement with CSUEB was to maintain that focus throughout and deliver the best possible to them. As we see it, the University's success is proportional to the number of prospective students who find that experience positive, special, and memorable.
By providing resources for institutions that serve adult learners, UPCEA helped to shape what education looks like and improve lives. Now, with nontraditional students making up the majority of enrollments in higher education, it appears UPCEA will be busy for another 100 years. As the higher education community continue to innovate by adopting a human-centered approach to their student interaction, Story+Structure will be, too.