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First Presbyterian Day School


My Role

As the UX practitioner, I provided user research and design recommendations to First Presbyterian Day School of Durham in order to understand the needs of their key audience. 

The Challenge

Understand current and potential users of the school's website in order to make data-based recommendations on future updates and hopefully onboard new parents and students.

The Approach


In order to understand the site’s key users, I interviewed 5 parents who all have looked for full time childcare for their children. Each user was asked the same set of questions:

  1. Have you ever searched for full time childcare?

  2. What are you looking for in a school when you are researching?

  3. What would be your top considerations?

  4. What types of information are important for you to have access to at your child’s school on a daily basis?

  5. Have you heard of FPDS? If yes, what were your initial thoughts?


Below is an overview of their feedback:


Analysis Summary (interviews):

While the interviewees had varying levels of importance, there were a few items that were consistently mentioned:

Top considerations in a full-time childcare facility:

  • location

  • price

  • nutrition

  • curriculum

  • safety


Most important information that parents want quick and easy access to:

  • daily report (child’s progress, appetite, what they learned that day, diaper changes, photos, video if possible)

  • sick policy/reports on sickness

  • weekly food menu

  • messages from director


Design Recommendations:

  • Add a password protected page for current parents to access important information such as handbooks, online payment, necessary forms, schedule of parent duties if it exists, etc.

  • Higher resolution/updated images site-wide

  • Make the weekly food menu and calendar of upcoming events accessible to everyone. This will add value for prospective parents. These would work well as highlights on the home page.

  • Add a ‘request a tour’ block to the home page that leads to a request form.

  • Many parents who had heard of FPDS assumed it was Christian affiliated. I suggested creating front and center content that highlights the school's diversity, equity work and 5-star rating.

  • Squarespace template recommendation: The site needed a design/layout that has more options for content (allowing for more flexibility), as well as one that is more visually appealing. Template links were provided to the client.


Using 4 participants, I ran a study of the current site to test the navigation. Tasks were created based on user interviews and what was important to the majority. Below are the results:


Analysis Summary (site navigation test):

Overall, the participants didn’t have a lot of success finding what they wanted. Here are a few insights:

  • For the tasks that passed, none of the participants found the correct page directly. They clicked a few items before getting there.

  • “Curriculum,” which is a high priority for many of the participants, is technically found underneath the “Learning Environment” tab. I suggested relabeling this “curriculum” as that seems to be a more universal term and more familiar.

  • Safety is a huge concern for parents, especially during COVID. They want updated, easily accessible information about what the school is doing to ensure the safety of their kids, cleaning/sanitization protocols, etc. I recommended adding a page or tab about this topic.

  • Users were confused about how to apply. Adding more information about the application process and making it more obvious that signing up for the waitlist is the first step may help here.

Other Navigation Recommendations:

  • Remove the “welcome” tab as users universally understand that the logo (which should be added to the navigation bar) gets them back to the home page.

  • Pull testimonials out onto the pages as callouts so they are seen throughout the site. Get updated testimonials.

  • Add contract information to navigation: Schedule (open house, interviews, application due dates); policies.

The Result

The school implemented many of the recommendations made above. Next steps will be to conduct the same testing again to validate our original findings.

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