Shilan Golkar, UX Designer
The SchoolFinder Group

Insights from our newest team member on improving the user experience for our community

Join us in welcoming Shilan Golkar to the SchoolFinder Group Team!

Shilan is a graduate of the University of Tehran with a master’s degree in psychology.

Over the last three years, she’s honed her skills in user experience (UX), and she’s already made some big improvements for students. One of her projects is to develop personas for our community of 1.2 million students, parents, and education professionals.

How did you get into UX?

As a UX designer at the SchoolFinder Group, I have the privilege of using my skills to create a seamless experience for our users. However, my journey to this career path was not a traditional one. I was always drawn to problem-solving and improving things. This led me to study psychology at university, where I gained a deep understanding of human behaviour and honed my problem-solving skills. But I knew I craved a more creative outlet than what traditional therapy could offer. That’s when I discovered UX design, where I realized I could combine my passion for psychology and problem-solving with a career in technology

Why is user experience research so important?

User research is a vital component of successful student recruitment for educational institutions. To ensure effective communication and reach the right target audience, it’s crucial to understand the needs, preferences, and behaviour of the users. 

This is where creating user personas comes into play. User personas are fictional representations of the target audience that help to identify their motivations, goals, pain points, and decision-making processes. They help you gain valuable insights into users’ needs, which can inform your marketing and recruitment strategies. In this way, user personas can help to create a more personalized and engaging experience for students, leading to increased enrollment rates and better student outcomes. 

Could you walk us through the process?

The first step to gather data, and the second step is to conduct interviews. This is important so that we understand the user’s goals, pain points, and what they value most in researching schools. The third step is creating personas.

For each persona, we included information such as their name, age, geographical location, and the type of education they are looking for. We also included information on their goals, interests, and pain points. 

Can you share some of the personas you’ve created?

Here’s a preview of five of our personas: Dennis, Musa, Manisha, Sarah, and Julia.

How will these personas impact development on the SchoolFinder Group of websites?

Our personas will inform our design, development, and marketing decisions. By understanding our users’ needs and motivations, we were able to create a more user-centered platform. We are making changes to our group of websites to better serve the needs of each group of users. 

And we hope that by understanding the demographics, interests, and motivations of prospective students, user personas will help us develop effective communication strategies that resonate with students. This tailored approach will help our clients attract and enroll the right students, who are more likely to thrive and succeed in their educational journey. Moreover, a precise target audience analysis can enhance retention rates, and establish a strong brand reputation in the competitive post-secondary education marketplace

And lastly, what do you like to do for fun?

If I’m not designing user-friendly experiences, you might find me enjoying a good book or cooking up something tasty in the kitchen. I’m also always trying to learn something new, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy being around others. I like getting together with friends to talk and share ideas, or listening to a thought-provoking podcast.

With my strong desire to discover and learn new things, every day is like an exciting journey — and I can’t wait to see where it leads me next!

Thank you Shilan, and welcome to the team!

The SchoolFinder Group
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