Case Study

A Better User Experience for The Kern Family Foundation’s Online Platform


Educational Platform Seeks Additional Value and Utilization

The Kern Family Foundation (KFF) works to empower the rising generation of Americans to lead flourishing lives through three program areas: Education and Character; Faith, Work and Economics; and Entrepreneurial Engineering. The Entrepreneurial Engineering program is focused on instilling entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering students and primarily works with faculty and institutions to accomplish this mission. To help accelerate the work and reach a broader audience of faculty, KFF created Engineering Unleashed, an online platform to help those influencing undergraduate engineering students network, collaborate, publish, find and share entrepreneurial mindset resources, and further their professional development in the engineering education space. After launching in 2018, Engineering Unleashed quickly became a national resource to thousands of engineering faculty members. As the platform matured, KFF needed a partner to help increase utilization and create additional value for Engineering Unleashed members.


Maximize Value, Minimize Time to Market

Starting with a 4-week Discovery engagement, our team focused on rapid, deep learning to investigate the usability landscape and technical environment of the platform. We also gathered data on current usage and produced a prioritized backlog of development work to maximize value and minimize time to market. Our product goals for delivery included:


  • Enhance search functionality
  • Enhance search user experience
  • Update the third-party email system
  • Enhance the content creation user experience


Positive Member Feedback and Excellent Metrics

Member feedback on the search functionality updates has been overwhelmingly positive. One Engineering Unleashed member said, “(Search) works so well! (I) have been playing around with it looking for topic-specific content and it’s great.” Another member said, “Definitely an improvement. I’ve tried the new search and got quick and accurate results. Thanks for making this update happen!”

Further member research during the delivery process led our team to focus on enhancing the card creation user experience. After usability testing, the primary action buttons were reworded and reorganized for clarity and usability during the card creation process. All of the members interviewed remarked positively about the revisited card creation workflow. One member commented, “(There is a) streamlined workflow… not super cluttered.” Another shared “I like the left side (navigation). It’s not zigzag top to bottom. I can click on something and get to it quickly.”

After updating the third-party email system to MailChimp, Engineering Unleashed emails have the highest ranking in every reputation factor: open rate, click rate, bounce rate and abuse rate, and the overall reputation status is more positive than the range of “most MailChimp users.” Transactional emails also have the highest ranking in reputation and a deliverability rate of 99.5%. Bounces and unsubscribes are low for both transactional and marketing emails sent through the new system.

tech used

Azure Cognitive Search, Bronto, Blazor, Telerik Kendo UI, Mailchimp API, C#, ASP .NET Core 3.1, Microsoft SQL Server

I really appreciate the thoughtful approach you all take when it comes to this work. It is clear that the whole team is not checking boxes to simply get work ‘done’ but is doing things the right way – as if they had to work with this application in the future.

— Michael Johnson, Digital Media Director, The Kern Family Foundation
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