AIP – Internship Program for Asia
Asia Internship Program (AIP) offers internship programs all over Asia. The company have been growing steadily over the past few years going from a handful of employees to 30 employees. Their primary target group is university students from Europe or North America who wish to study in an Asian country.
AIP contacted us to redesign their brand and website because they were planning to expand to other Asian countries outside of South East Asia (and eventually globally) and needed to have a more established brand and website that could convey their current positioning and future plans.
What we did
The initial scope was to only design a brand new interface to reflect their current positioning, improve the user experience and eventually increase their conversion. Half way through the website redesign, we convinced them to also redesign their logo which we thought was not aligned with their new vision.
They were so happy with our services that at the end of the project, they asked us to apply the new branding to all of their marketing materials (T-shirts, brochures, banners, business cards, leaflets, backdrops, social media assets, email newsletters, etc).
Initially, I was skeptical. I had previous experience working with designers in Thailand and I always got disappointed. The work was always sloppy and slow but with Morphosis, my worries were left behind on day one. The graphics they created were amazing and they came out with UX ideas that I would never have thought of.
After designing the website, we were so happy with their work that we even decided to let them redo all our branding materials. As you can see, I’m fan. Jeremie is a great team leader and he really knows how to make your business shine.
Daniele Cosentino – Managing Director at AIP
The first step to our redesign process was to clearly understand our client’s business, research their competitors, research user behaviors and understand their industry best practices. After the research, we restructured the navigation, layout and set a new design direction for their website. We wanted something bolder and more adventurous in terms of look and feel to encourage candidates to take a risk and travel abroad. Throughout the project we involved the client in the design process to make sure we were perfectly aligned with their expectations and always going in the right direction. This allowed us to move quickly, efficiently and deliver within the deadline.
After gathering market research from our client, we identified two web personas. The first was more interested in searching for a specific destination and then program later. The second persona didn’t really care about the country. They just wanted to travel to Asia and therefore was more open to other considerations such as the internship program or benefits.
These 2 personas helped us understand better how users navigate through the website and allowed us to make informed design decisions. This gave us support toward our goal to increase the conversion of the application form.
To analyze and improve the flow and navigation of the website we listed all headings and links on a board using sticky notes. Then we started to reorganize or rename links in a more logical way for the users. The end result was a more simplified and intuitive navigation.
At the beginning of the project we analyzed direct competitors to understand their business model, positioning and best practices in this industry. Most their competitors tended to put more emphasis on the destinations instead of programs. This made sense since candidates who chose to do an internship abroad first want to get a unique experience and learn a new culture. In this case, studies are secondary to them.
On most websites, pricing page and application form were overloaded with information and lead to a frustrating experience. We thought there might be a better way to do it and could help differentiate our client from their competitors.
After our new sitemap and flow were settled, we designed the wireframes in Sketch App. First we worked on the content and helped restructure and rewrite the text to summarize and optimize to have a stronger impact on conversion. We worked closely with our client to make sure our message was aligned with their vision. We also helped them set a tone of voice which would talk better to users.
For this phase, we decided to start with the desktop version because according to the analytics the majority of users accessed the website via their computers – not mobile. Once we had a solid flow and experience, we designed the mobile version.
To validate our solutions, we created a user testing plan and then ran a one day workshop to test our interactive prototypes with a few users.
For this test, we gave participants 2 main tasks. The first task was to apply for any internship in a specific country. The second task was to apply for a specific internship program in any country.
All participants managed to finish all tasks successfully and apart from some minor usability issues, the test was really positive. Our client was really happy with the results. We finalized the wireframes and now it was time to go to the next stage of the project: the visual design.
Logo & Brand Design
At some point in the project, it became obvious that we would not be able to reach our objectives to create a strong and established brand unless we also redesigned their logo. It needed to reflect the maturity of their company. This meant going away from their conservative blue and yellow logo and have something a bit more bold, solid and adventurous at the same time.
We approached Daniele, their CEO, and raised this issue. Initially, Daniele was quite cold to the idea. He wasn’t planning on updating the logo across all marketing materials. But eventually he started to see this was the right thing to do. They could not change the way users perceived them without changing the logo first. He talked to his partners and after a few back and forth the decision was made to redesign their logo. In the end, they were glad they made this call. It was the right decision.
Our new concept of the updated logo came from the idea of an internship being a transition from school to work and traveling from one place to another. The logo is pointing from bottom left to top right. There’s a movement to it, a positive direction toward the future. Hence, the curve starting from the letter A is a bridge (from school) that ascends to the future (to work).
Once the client was satisfied with the logo concept we tried various color schemes for the logo. In the end and after long discussions with the client, we concluded that the brand should look modern, trustworthy and professional, but also look positive, energetic and affordable. Therefore, we chose purple to give a bolder look to their logo and orange to give energy to it. Orange color encourages candidates to take a risk and go on an adventure.
At this point, we had a solid information architecture, marketing content and logo to develop the visual design. We first started to develop a few concept designs and style guide based on our new brand guidelines. We already had a clear vision where we should be heading in terms of look & feel and it didn’t take us long to come up with some solid concept designs.
As we wanted to reflect the mood and tone of the brand and fit with the main target group, young adults. The layout and style guide had to associate with energy, simplicity, and friendliness. This can be expressed in small details such as bold text, highlighted words and big buttons.
The Pricing Table
The old pricing table was quite complicated. Visitors could switch between multiple countries and then see all prices for different durations and different packages. It was not very clear what these packages enticed to visitors and this added to the confusion.
In order to redesign the pricing table we asked our client how their customers usually chose an internship. It turned out that in most cases 80%+ of them already have a destination in mind when browsing. The customers also know their duration of their internship because it’s a school requirement or because it’s during their summer vacation. Having this information was very helpful. It gave us information on how to prioritize the information and design a better flow.
Another consideration was the pricing table would have to be displayed on different pages including destinations and program pages. This on its own was a challenge. The pricing table contained a lot of information and this meant we had to find a way to keep it short and sweet.
Below are some of the initial solutions that we considered but none of them really solved the problem.
Finally, we settled for a step by step solution where visitors first choose a destination, followed by the duration, then the prices are displayed at the final stage. This solution is more visual and has the advantage of less information is being displayed at once – which helps users come up with a decision.
Internship Application Form
The application form was another challenge to solve. This form was too long and plain looking. It felt like everything was just thrown into this page without real thought. A lot of information didn’t have to be displayed in this form. Our primary goal is to get the candidate’s contact details so an agent can make first contact and close the deal later.
When we started redesigning these screens, we wanted to create a very simple flow and experience for users. To do so, we discussed with our client and saw how we could reduce the form length or split it into multiple steps to avoid information overload. We also tried to make it as visual as possible by using icons and other graphics whenever we could along with short instructions to guide users along the way.
Doing an internship abroad is a life changing experience for young adults. They are going to discover a new culture, new food, meet a lot of different people and grow as a person from it. Therefore, we wanted our design to convey this feeling by using lots of white space and large, quality images across the website to give our website visitors a feeling of exploration, discovery and adventure.
AIP offers different internship programs on their website. Each program has its own page. To make the programs more interesting and visual, we developed a unique set of icons for our client aligned with the brand guidelines we developed for them.
These icons are not just here to be pretty. They contribute to create a better experience for users as they help candidates find the program they are looking for much faster.
Once we finished the website, Daniele asked us to design different marketing materials such as flyers, email templates, T-shirts, letterheads, business cards, roll up banners, backdrops, brochure templates, etc. Below are just a few sample of our work:
When Daniele and his business partners came to us they were in dire need of a redesign to move their business forward. We could feel their apprehension. Delegating such a critical part of their business to an external company was a stressful moment for them. If we failed in our task their business could have been seriously impacted for months or years ahead. Daniele made it very clear on the first meeting that we could not fail and we took this responsibility very seriously.
At Morphosis, we believe that having the right processes in place helps us reach our objectives.
That’s why we put a lot of emphasis on doing thorough UX research and strategy at the beginning of a project. We don’t just do pretty designs and hope for the best. We study your business and research thoroughly your visitors needs and behaviors. This research followed by analysis and strategy allows us come up with the right solutions for the right problem.
Daniele was not just happy with our services because we came up with some amazing designs. He was happy because we understood his problem and came up with the right solutions to move his business forward.