For my project, I will be redesigning the SallieMae website. SallieMae is a loan serving agency for college students. I currently use it to help with my college tuition, but I have come to realize that the UI is very confusing to navigate as well as understand. I am sometimes given certain instructions in my email, but when I go to the website, I am not given any information about where I can go to fulfill whatever it is I have to get done, nor am I given any helpful hints as to what I should do next. Adding to that, there are different parts of the website that are used for different purposes, and sometimes it's easy to get lost in one part, not knowing how to navigate to where you actually need to be. Using this website for a couple years has somewhat helped me learn my way around, but to this day, I still have tremendous trouble finding my way. A few months ago, there were talks of a new redesign coming for the website, but what was actually released was just the homepage, with everything else left exactly the same, including the pages used to actually request loans and sign off documents relating to the loans. So not much has changed and navigation is still a big issue.
My customers will most likely be college students looking for financial help with their college tuition. Their parents will also be a big part, as they will sometimes be co-signing on the loans for their children. Other possible targets that SallieMae states on their website are students in their medical and dental residency, and students in grades K-12.
The biggest issue with this website, as stated above, is the lack of directional awareness. Typically, the user is supposed to know where they are and how to get where they need to go, but on SallieMae's website, it gets confusing to know these things. Therefore, in my prototype, I plan to fully redesign the backline of the SallieMae website, which is the part where users manage their loans and apply for new ones. There should be helpful hints and messages allowing the user to understand what page they are on and where they need to go to find what they are looking for.
In addition to the redesign of the website, I plan to also create some new emails in accordance to the status of the user. The emails should provide clear steps and notifications as to what is going on with the loans and what further steps the user needs to take. Just like the messages on the website, the emails can send falsified and confusing messages, leading the user to believe that they have not completed a task, when they actually have, and vice versa. The messages on the website and the emails need to be consistent with one another in order to ensure the best possible ease of use for the user.