Education First

CLIENT: EF - Education First (Team Project through UXDI at General Assembly, Boston)

EF Education First is an international education company focusing on language, academics, educational travel, and cultural experience. With a mission to open the world through education, EF was founded in 1965. EF Education First is organized in three divisions: EF Language and Schools, EF Cultural Exchange, and EF Educational Travel. Each division has several different businesses. We worked directly with the UX Department for the EF Educational Tours in Cambridge, MA.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: Create a Tour purchase/enrollment experience for travelers and parents that demonstrates the value of educational travel and motivates students to sign up.

SECONDARY OBJECTIVE: Generate interest and buzz around the tour before the recruitment meeting, so that someone could potentially enroll without having attended the meeting in person. All the while making it a fun and intuitive experience.

SOLUTION: Through user interviews, competetive analysis, ideating, sketching, testing, iterating  – and more testing! We came up with a page built with a modular system. Through a portal, the teacher would be able to customize and control the display of particular modules. This would be most effective prior to the enrollment meeting – allowing the teacher to curate the information distributed to avoid stickershock and promote the value of educational travel.

CHALLENGE: The challenge for our team was to deliver a new perspective to an issue that was widely known & studied throughout EF. How would we revamp the existing tour page to serve as a better recruitment tool for the teacher – engaging students as well as parents – while being sensitive to the issue of price.

TEAM: Erin Doherty, Jared Steinmark, Lisa Mackin

DURATION:  3 weeks

MY ROLE: UX Researcher, Competitive Analysis, Visual Designer (web), Story Board Illustrator


We interviewed students, parents, tour consultants, group leaders and customer service reps to determine key pain points of our users. Through surveys, phone calls and one-on-one interviews we gathered a considerable amount of data regarding the tour page and things to consider as we began to redesign to optimize our users' experience.

"It would be great to see a list that fills up as the kids enroll."



We performed an in-depth competitive analysis comparing the features of EF and it's three top competitors World Strides, Explorica & ACIS. Our top 5 takeaways were:

  • Blogs are mostly geared to teachers

  • Separate travel pages for students and parents

  • Downloadable posters for recruiting - ACIS

  • Photo and Video contests

  • Tour Diary- Parents able to follow students while on tour - Explorica




Determined hierarchy of needs for tour page:

  • Pre-trip Buzz

  • Itinerary

  • Reasons for Travel

  • Parents Needs

  • Photos and Videos

  • Trip Sharing and Enrollment 




EF Affinity Mapping


Based on what we learned the team separated and did some quick sketches of possible page layouts. we joined forces again and white boarded the most effective modules of our designs.


The modular design was transferred to paper. We were able to investigate hierarchy options without the commitment to screen time. Back out the door for user testing - we polled our audience to determine the best placement for our modules. MOST SURPRISING: The "Reviews" module was comparably rated by both the student and parent user as one of the top features they'd want to see. User insight led us to the next step - creating high fidelity mockups in mobile and desktop.



Once we had a solid idea of our wireframes we began the high-fidelity mockup of the mobile screens. On the desktop version we would be using an interactive map and itinerary. To the right you can see how that concept translated to the smaller screen.


As part of our modular system concept the Group Leader would have the ability to use a portal to control and customize the display of certain modules. We determined that there would be a number of persistent modules that would allow for no flexibility. On the others, the Group Leader would be able to update status, upload custom content, and choose whether or not the module would be displayed.


The customized tour landing page would allow teachers/group leaders to brand their trip utilizing the hero image space – uploading videos, photos from previous trips, vignettes, etc. The map module introduced interactivity with a scrolling itinerary and pulse points on the map that allowed a magnified discovery of stops and venues along the tour. The Fill the Bus and Chaperone module provided a way for teachers/group leaders to update the status of the enrollment of the trip as well as displaying information regarding the chaperones that would be accompanying the tour group.