SAGE Canada: Website Redesign
SAGE Canada is part of a larger global network that creates opportunities for youth to bring their ideas to life. Their program mentors young people, teaches them entrepreneurial skills and provides them with resources to turn their ideas into live business ventures.
Their main goals for this project were firstly, to have more student sign ups for their program and secondly, to have a platform for SAGE Canada alumni to connect.
Beginning with research, we looked into their website and conducted a competitive comparative analysis of other incubator websites. We also created a mind map to try and figure out their most valuable proposition.
Our experience navigating their website was a confusing one and we realized, if this is our experience, it also must be the experience for others as well.
We decided to send out surveys and interview students currently in the program to see what their experiences were like. Not to our surprise, others did have similar experiences.
“Sage is a great program but I found their website a little confusing. I was unsure of what programs they offered and I thought that they could have provided more key information.”
Diving deeper into the research, we realized how much friction there was when a student attempted to apply for their program. Program deadlines and guidelines weren’t clear and the sign up process was a multistep back and forth email interaction.
SAGE’s target audience is youth aged 13–18. Research shows you only have a few seconds to catch and retain someone’s attention. We knew we had to redesign SAGE’s website so that they could catch the attention of their target audience in just a few seconds.
WHAT WE KNEW:
1. SAGE Canada is made up of passionate individuals with a wealth of knowledge and a heart for youth
2. There are youth with big ideas looking for mentorship and resources to turn their dreams into reality
3. SAGE’s target audience is between the ages of 13–18
4. Prospective students had trouble finding key information when navigating SAGE’s website
5. Onboarding process was time-consuming and inefficient
6. Research shows you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention
WHAT WE HAD TO CONSIDER:
1. How do we help bridge the understanding gap that prospective students seemed to have when experiencing SAGE’s website for the first time?
2. How do we capture someone’s attention is just a few seconds?
3. How can we clearly and appropriately represent SAGE’s passion and personality for youth?
4. How can we clearly show youth the benefits of joining SAGE’s program to increase program sign ups?
We knew the website had to first spark an interest, then help youth understand the opportunity, before they would engage and become involved with SAGE. We created a feature prioritization chart to figure out what things were the most important to include.
To spark an interest, we decided to use bright and bold colours. We chose red, blue and yellow specifically because research shows that red is a powerful colour. It gets people’s attention and retains it. Blue is viewed as trustworthy and yellow shows confidence — values we felt were the spirit of what SAGE offered students.
Secondly, we decided to have bold and simple messaging paired with captivating imagery at the top of every page so that as soon as someone landed on the site, we could catch their attention within seconds.
We put our redesigned site out for testing and the feedback we received was positive.
One tester said:
“This looks like a really impressive program, as a business student this is something I would want to do. I’m really sad that being 19 I am too old for this. This program looks like it’s offering really valuable things and I just wish that it would come to the States.”
From our testing, we knew we were on the right track.
Once an interest was sparked and the opportunity understood, the prospective students can then choose to engage.
We wanted to make the engagement process as simple as possible — have key information clear and easy to understand and streamline the application process, eliminating back and forth email chains. We decided to have the program application form embedded into the site using Typeform for easy access. We placed it immediately underneath important deadlines and program guidelines so that they could apply right away. The call to action for applying is also at the top and bottom of every page.
We hoped that by making the program information bold, clear and simple, it would engage the attention of prospective students — increasing the number of student sign ups and bridging the understanding gap of what SAGE had to offer prospective students.
Creating a strong first impression with SAGE’s redesigned website was a priority in increasing program sign ups. We felt that the new site had to portray SAGE’s personality — a fun, passionate mentorship program empowering the next generation to be confident and capable.
GOING INTO THE FUTURE
The second goal for SAGE Canada was to have a platform where alumni could connect.
Given our three week time constraint, we felt it was important to first address the website redesign. Having a strong brand and personality will lay the foundation for SAGE to build themselves upon.
However, because a team platform was something they wanted, we also made recommendations for website plugins that they could implement.
Another recommendation we made for them was to expand beyond just themselves. SAGE Canada is located right in the heart of downtown Toronto. Toronto is home to hubs of new businesses and companies doing cool things and exploring innovative ideas. What better way to inspire youth than to show them the possibilities of their dreams? We recommended different events involving local start-ups around Toronto. It’s a great way to not only inspire youth, but to also build SAGE Canada’s presence within Toronto.
One of the biggest things I learned from this project was how important it is to represent who you are well. When we first met with SAGE, we could see and feel their passion but their website didn’t show that at all. It was confusing and chaotic and because of that, everything that SAGE was got lost. It was really exciting being a part of a project that helped them lay out and solve their pain points and redesign their brand. I’m looking forward to seeing all of the amazing business ideas that will come from SAGE Canada and their mentorship program with young students!