Student user journey and portal

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Galvanize / Hack Reactor
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Sketch, Invision, Adobe Illustrator, usertesting.com, hotjar
outcome icon
Increase student application, improve target audience, scalable design components
While working at Galvanize / Hack Reactor, I studied the user journey and created a user experience that was more accessible, and scalable to our growing business.

Objective - Create a seamless user experience between two products
‍Purpose of the project - Increase applications of students.
‍My role - I was responsible for the user experience pre application. I worked closely with developers and marketing to make sure messaging and the student journey matched.
Challenge - There were a lot of variables to design for that made the user journey very complex.

Historical Context

Galvanize had its own brand, and in 2018, acquired Hack Reactor. Each company had their own brand and user journey. My job was to create reusable UI components, to have each user feel the same experience while maintaining the integrity of each brand.

User Research - Student Personas

We wanted to get a deeper understanding of our students and their pain points for wanting to join a coding bootcamp. This research led to us improving our messaging, creating a better overall experience for a student.

Research Goals
  • Gain a holistic understanding of our students and prospective students
  • Empathize with our students
  • Validate or invalidate our messaging
  • Screener survey
  • User Interviews
  • Competitive + Comparative Analysis

I was knee deep in data, searching through linkedIn, SalesForce, and surveys to combine this information into personas that were then validated through testings.

Research Insights

Through our research, we learned how and why people wanted to join a coding bootcamp. Some interesting finding were:

  • People wanted a more full-filling career
  • People wanted to earn more money
  • People were looking for a challenge in their career

Our personas throughout the student journey

Empowered with insights, we were able to create reusable UI components

By building out empathy maps of our personas we had a better understanding of our students pain point and deep rooted reasons for joining a coding bootcamp. We were able to create better messaging, and UI components that could be used across both Hack Reactor and Galvanize brands.

UI components

I collaborated closely with Marketing Managers, Developers, and Senior Leadership to design over a dozen new UI components and web pages and updated the entire site to be on the same CMS.


During the design process, prototyping was crucial in reviewing and testing our UI/UX. Through InVision, I'd review prototypes with stakeholders. I also used usertesting.com to gain a better understanding of user feedback.


With our scalable components, the next step was to create new websites with these design elements. We wanted the brands to maintain their own authenticity, but we wanted the UX to have a consistent foundational element.

Admissions Portal

Once a user joins the program they join our admissions portal. Prior to me joining, this portal was completely branded to be Galvanize. This caused confusion in the user journey for Hack Reactor students. We created a new admissions portal that now is contextual based on which bootcamp the user joins.

We started out by creating the user flow and finding pain points and opportunities.

User journey through out student funnel

Once we tested and finalized the journey throughout the process, we started to create low fidelity prototypes that we would then test with stakeholders, as well as with usertesting.com participants.

Reiterating and evolving

To evaluate the new websites and portals, we are using google analytics, hotjar, and competitors analysis. This allowed us to gain deeper understanding through combining both qualitative and quantitative information. We continue to monitor to find ways of improving the user experience.

Julie truly epitomizes what it means to be a team player. While self-starting and capable of working independently, she is always looking to incorporate feedback from others to ensure the best product goes forward. She is a true professional, and the quality of her work speaks volumes of her character. Julie is a pleasure to work with and will instantly add value to any team she is on.
Anthony Calamito: Chief Geospatial Officer, Boundless
I worked with Julie at Excelacom and really enjoyed her creativity, combined with her ability to get things done, on time and with great quality.She is a great graphic designer, continuously bringing to the table new ideas and helps transform storytelling of technology and data into visual and graphical interfaces.I highly recommend working with Julie!
Yossi AbrahamCMO, Excelacom
Julie is an absolute pleasure to work with. She is extremely talented and her work ethic is second to none. Her ability to gather customer requirements and ideas and distill them into a presentable, compelling media is truly impressive. It would be a privilege to work with Julie again in the future and I hope I have the opportunity to do so.

Elliott FergusonVP, Professional Services, Boundless
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