Pearson has been in the publishing industry for more than a century and has grown to be the largest education company and book publisher in the world. With a localised product offering and localised website, Pearson catered to Australian divisions including higher education, English language learning, clinical, Primary education and Secondary education. Pearson believed that these unique product offerings required an experience designed specifically for primary and secondary educators to assist in finding information that is relevant only to them. This approach would improve the overall resource discovery process and interactions with Pearson Australia Schools division.
What we did
Luminary was engaged to conduct a site audit across content, SEO, heuristics, analytics, accessibility, brand, and competitors. A third-party agency was tasked with building the website based on the recommendations and research put forward by our luminary team.
A research-backed user journey
Pearson was committed to delivering a better experience with greater cohesion and flow for its Australian K-12 education users. Luminary’s UX Designer, Dean interviewed and early concept tested with teachers to better understand their specific needs when exploring new educational resources. This process validated a new simplified IA (information architecture). By conducting this concept testing early in the project, the team were able to quickly identify what would work and what would not work for teachers rather than waiting for user acceptance testing (UAT), or even post-launch.
Cohesion and clarity for content managers
The user journey work underpinned the success of the project, as Pearson’s consumers included vendors, teachers and students and the content was structured in a simple and enjoyable way that reflected what was important to those users. By focusing on navigation and content design, we managed to rearrange or cut superfluous and distracting content by 40-50%. This would save time-poor teaching staff looking for relevant information, but it also offered a fresh start for content managers and would make updating and maintaining content far easier.
The design strategy
Luminary conducted a digital brand workshop to distil the Pearson brand essence and gather insight from the people who utilise the Pearson website on a daily basis. The aim was to help them visualise what their aspirational brand will look and feel like. We helped the Pearson team analyse their competition to identify what they like or dislike, and see the breadth of what existed beyond their ecosystem.
Building block approach
Building block activities engaged Pearson and its stakeholders on the design journey as they were made to feel like content authors and could utilise wireframe components and build pages. Through these workshops, a content flow was clearly identified and existing components were optimised to better serve its Australian K-12 users. By having the Pearson team participate in design workshops, any potential issues were diagnosed and mitigated as they were invested in the process and its success. The outcome was establishing a new visual identity that was consistent with the parent brand while also focussing on the nuances of the Australian K-12 market.
Depending on which part of the new Pearson K-12 site you are on, the visual themes change. The core site features Pearson’s prominent brand colour, whereas the supporting brand colours are used for the primary sections (yellow), and secondary sections (teal). The component structure remains the same, with these visual elements acting as a visual cue.
Informative, fit-for-purpose templates
The team also created a set of mock-up templates that aimed to quickly inform users what the product was about at a glance. Utilising callout sections to pull out potentially tiny text from a book cover, and provide a set of icons to give contextual information without over cluttering the promotional image. Our focus, like with most projects, was to provide a series of components that were able to house a variety of content, which still looked visually unique.
SEO, analytics and content strategy
Rich keyword research and a comprehensive SEO audit highlighted how people are searching for a given topic, including the terminology they use and the questions they ask, which can inform content strategy and site navigation labels. This also identified gaps in keyword targeting in their market which they could capitalise on. Pearson’s performance to date was largely due to the way content was structured and how keywords were being integrated on-page. Addressing technical issues and enhancing content in pages that were lacking were the immediate SEO recommendations, and educating the team on best practice set Pearson up for future content.
The extensive design system that Luminary created was the result of all the research that the team had conducted. On the surface, it looks like any other design system but there were intentional choices throughout which were led by the things Luminary learned through research. Additionally, the robustness and extendibility of the system are a big part of why it’s so great, meaning that we could easily and quickly design new components using the design patterns established which improved efficiency while being visually consistent and also aligned to how developers build sites. Enabled by the very engaged and trusting Pearson team, Luminary was able to deliver high-quality discovery and design. This collaborative working relationship with Pearson resulted in a site design that was made ground up for time-poor teaching staff. By restructuring the way Pearson’s wide range of products could be explored, the more dense data points and cluttered components were replaced with a simplified browsable experience.
We sought out Luminary to deliver a simplified website experience for K-12 educators exploring their classroom resourcing options. From the early discovery phases through to the more technical phases, the team showed an understanding and shared commitment to this goal. Every Luminary team member was professional and a pleasure to work with, collaborating smoothly with internal and external stakeholders involved in the project. We are delighted with the time-savings the new design provides our website visitors and our content creators!
Want more? Here are some other examples of our work that you might be interested in.