How the University of Twente Prioritizes Improvements with Usabilla

5 min read

Optimizing and improving the user journey has become a key focus for an array of industries over the past few years. More and more organizations are prioritizing a smooth digital experience for their online visitors and, in turn, are reaping the benefits.

At Usabilla, we’re exceptionally proud of the variety of clients we’re able to help achieve this and, in particular, how we can use our specialist knowledge across a variety of industries.

So, we sat down with the University of Twente, hailed the Netherlands’ most entrepreneurial university, to learn more about the ways an academic institution benefits from implementing user feedback.

Anne Heining, Website Coordinator in the University’s Marketing & Communications department explains:

“As product owner of the content management system, I’m always interested in new ways to improve our website, use new technology, and help our website admins across all departments with maintaining their pages.”

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When the team wanted to rebuild their backend environment to better allow 1500 faculty members to edit and maintain their own environments for their respective students, Usabilla proved to be an invaluable helper. Anne tells us more about the process below.

What, would you say, are the biggest challenges in developing and maintaining a University website?

The biggest challenge is to get all 1500 CMS admins updated to make sure they know how everything works. That way, we can keep the website quality at a certain level.

Alongside this, it’s difficult to maintain a standard template, particularly when each user is requesting specific features for their faculty environment. It’s impossible to meet the requirements of 1500 CMS admins, and that can be disappointing for the top 5% who are advanced users.

What tools and metrics do you use to measure the success of your website?

We use Google Analytics, implemented by Google Tag Manager (GTM). We use lots of other GTM features to measure what’s going wrong, where people are confused on our site, or what parts of the site need improvement.

Why did you decide to invest in user feedback?

We know there are a lot of visitors who notice when something goes wrong on our site. And we, the central website team and the other CMS admins, want to continuously improve both our front-facing and backend websites. User feedback connects these two needs: our visitors provide us with all the information we need.


Could you describe what kind of campaigns you’re running? What insights have they provided so far?

We have the standard feedback button installed on every web page. Next to this, we run several different types of campaigns:

  • On any new or updated web pages, we’ll run a campaign for 4-weeks to ask visitors if there are any issues that need attention
  • Maintenance announcements (especially during maintenance) to inform visitors what’s going on
  • Continuous campaigns are run on specific pages that contain very different or complex procedures. For example, if a user is clicking around for some time a survey pops up to ask if we can help with finding any information.
  • User satisfaction surveys (even for non-website related contact) – such as, “You recently contacted our service desk – How did you like our service and how can we improve?”

What is the single biggest insight you’ve gained through the use of Usabilla so far?

The impact that implementing a new system can have!

Introducing a new system can cause more than 10 to 15 times as much feedback as you would get on a regular day. Therefore it’s really easy to discover what’s bothering people most. In the past, we would receive 4 or 5 emails with suggestions, now we receive 150 feedback reports with Usabilla. The larger number of feedback items helps us to get priority (and money) for projects in order to solve the reported issues.

Has user feedback influenced decision-making or prioritization in the development of your website?

After launching a new phonebook/people finder for the University, we received a lot of feedback through Usabilla – on average 30 items a day. Before the launch of this system, we had a huge discussion about having a video background on the front page. Some people thought it was awful and created too much movement on the screen.

We decided to go ahead and trial the video and see what feedback we would get, in order to make a decision. Over a 6-month period, we received only 3 comments on the video. So, there was no need to make any changes.

Could you describe how feedback plays a part in your organization? Who works with the feedback, and how do they use it?

Our central web team receives the feedback. We receive every feedback item by email so we can directly forward it to the editor of the web page (for content issues) or to the technical team (for design/technical feedback/issues).

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If we are running campaigns, we log in twice a week to view the feedback. Additionally, key users within the organization – usually the Product Owners of different systems – periodically log in to download reports for their own systems.

Although we do not report to management on a regular basis, we use feedback results to initiate new improvements.

What are your biggest challenges for 2017, and how does user feedback play a role in them?

Website development is moving faster and faster as new technology becomes available. You have to be continuously improving and able to make quick decisions. User feedback really helps us with this. However, we’d still love to receive even more data. So, stimulating our users to leave more feedback is a big challenge for us.

Alongside this, I would also like to integrate Usabilla into more than just the website, because we know other systems could be improved if we enable our users to report their struggles.

Want to know more about how Usabilla can help you or your organization? Simply request a call with one of our friendly Business Managers or do some more reading here.

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Robyn Collinge
As Usabilla's Copywriter, Robyn brings nice words together - like peanut butter, napping, and Sunday brunch.