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Jul 24 / Thomas Krupka

User Experience – Going undercover on your own Campus Tour

The Next team wanted to experience first-hand what it’s like to see the campus from a prospective student’s point of view. How do you attain that kind of intel? You dress up incognito and sign up for one of our own campus tours, of course!

We scheduled our tour online and came up with some undercover personas.

Alex the stylish transfer student

Alex the stylish
transfer student

Tom the geeky helicopter dad

Tom the geeky
helicopter dad

Rolaine the international grad student

Rolaine international
grad student

Rob the undergrad incoming freshmen

Rob the undergrad
incoming freshmen







It was flawless. We weren’t even recognized by our own office. You could say we were deep undercover. Ok, maybe not. As we left the office, everyone laughed at our attire. Either way, the plan was set and away we went on our 90-minute undercover campus tour.

At the welcome center we were efficiently checked in with an iPad and put into a pretty typical grouping comprised of a mom with her two daughters, a dad and his son, a french Canadian couple interested in grad school and a few solo prospectives.

We stayed to the back, trying not to be obvious as Rolaine snapped a picture every 50 feet or so. We visited the usual “hot spots” that showed off our what our campus has to offer. This reminded me of all the amazing things Wayne State has on campus, and I wanted to carry this experience onto the next

Is it enough to only worry about the web user experience (UX) we are creating with next

We have to think about the whole experience

By taking this tour, we could clearly see one of the first impressions our prospective students get by walking in their shoes. It can be one of the most useful ways to gain insight into how they see us as a university right from the start. This may or may not be their very first impression of Wayne State. Odds are their first experience will be through our website to sign up for a campus tour or explore what we have to offer.

This leads to some questions to ask ourselves as we re-craft to its Next evolution:

  • Is our end-to-end user experience as good as it can be?
  • Is the message/brand the same feel across web and real-person interactions?
  • What would the prospective student say to a friend about the experience they had?

Asking at these kinds of questions will help us to empathize with our users and come up with more seamless experiences from web to real world. Along the way, our users will utilize many different channels of communication to connect with us.  Keeping this end-to-end experience simple, consistent and well branded is essential to our success, including how our users view us and their ultimate decision to become a Wayne State Warrior.
Think about the whole experience
Illustration from Killer UX Design by Jodie Moule

Crafting these experiences with this in mind will make us a more cohesive unit at a departmental level. Instead of the usual hand-off, it will force us to work more closely together internally, ensuring the entire experience is amazing to the end.

Word of mouth (at blazing internet speed) is very important to a successful campaign.
How many times have you complained about a bad user experience?
How many times have you touted a great user experience?

Unfortunately, people are more likely to share a bad experience they had. Even small problems can lead to bad user experience. This can add up quickly, especially with how fast word of mouth spreads in this technological age. Looking at the prospective student entire experience first will help navigate the process through the many layers of interdepartmental depth. In doing so, we can create an experience that’s as flawless as possible.

If we can work together on an end-to-end amazing user experience, there’s no telling what else is possible.



  1. Thomas Krupka / Jul 24 2013

    I know right… I think Alex was a secret detective in another life 🙂

  2. Rasheda / Jul 24 2013

    This is a great idea. I think it’s a great strategy for every institution and corporation. I love Alex’s transfer student ensemble.

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