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Helping entrepreneurs grow with a custom CRM

Southbank University (REI)

Background

Southbank University's REI (Research, Enterprise and Innovation) programme is an initiative aimed at helping students and young entrepreneurs grow their startups through business mentorship. After a successful tender application, I partnered with London based agency Designppl to lead the UX & visual design of a custom CRM platform for the REI programme.

The Challenge

The brief was to build a public facing front-end that promoted the programme and encouraged student and mentee signups, as well as a custom CRM platform that integrated with the front-end and facilitated the effective delivery of training from mentors to students.

Understanding Objectives

I facilitated a UX workshop with key stakeholders from the university programme to understand the needs of their users and formulate project specific goals and outcomes.

Site Architecture

With the goals and outcomes of the project clear, as well as initial UX research conducted, I led the information architecture phase of the project, creating user flows and a sitemap to visualise the connections between the various screens and functions of the front-end and the custom CRM.

Agile Prototyping

Key layouts and page templates were prototyped within the browser using Webflow, this allowed us to move fast by initially creating lower fidelity prototypes to understand and iterate on the user flows and then build them into more detailed interactive prototypes to explore more complex parts of the functionality.

Admin & Student Dashboards

The CRM consisted of two unique areas - one area for administrators and mentors to manage the applicants for the programme and communicate with students, and another area for students to manage and track their progress on the programme, as well as keep track of public events they are attending and edit their personal information.

Branding

The interface of the front-end features three distinct types of branding, that of the university REI brand, and the different branding of the two delivery channels - A2i and SimDh. In order to avoid visual overwhelm, the REI brand is applied to the majority of the front-end pages, while the A2i and SimDh brands have their own branded landing pages and dashboard areas.

CRM Design System & Components

As the window for project delivery started to narrow, our focus turned creating re-usable elements and code snippets that would allow the CRM to be built from pre-defined UI components to speed up development. This included elements such as re-usable content cards, buttons, form elements and UX patterns that could be easily duplicated with code.

Launch

The CRM launched in late 2017 and has had several hundred signups from students and young entrepreneurs, helping to expand the reach and impact of the university's individuals business mentorship programmes.