CSI logo

Company information

The Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) is Canada's leading provider of professional credentials and compliance solutions for the financial services industry, helping more than 700,000 financial professionals reach their career goals. It offers more than 120 courses.

Website: https://www.csi.ca/student/en_ca/home.xhtml

Identified Problem

  • Common complaints with respect to usability revolved around the difficulty experienced by users in finding relevant information.
  • Features of the site most in need of improvement included: search functionality, design (branding), and navigation, with an emphasis on making the site more consumer-focused and intuitive to their user audiences.
  • Overall goals with respect to usability were to focus on reducing the abandonment rate and providing users with numerous opportunities to find the course or information they are looking for.


  • Assessment
    • Research review, metric analysis & site evaluation – Key Findings and Recommendations report
  • Planning
    • Developed personas & logic flows
    • Developed IA , wireframes & a prototype site
    • Conducted usability testing & persona validation with 10 participants
    • Modified IA & wireframes
    • Created design concepts
    • (12 week project)
  • Site re-launched in November 2008


  • Three personas were defined:
    • Persona 1: Looking for a Career in Financial Services
    • Persona 2: Current CSI Student
    • Persona 3: Training Manager


  • Debbie is either referred to CSI.ca or she’ll Google the certificates she needs.
  • Her first visit she’ll explore.
  • Her second visit will probably be from a bookmark page – directly to the course she’s interested in.
  • She’ll want to know time commitment and the exam process


  • John knows CSI. He is focused. He wants specific information. He has limited time.
  • He may want to expand the certificate and should be aware of what else he can achieve
  • Mary needs a broader knowledge.
  • She needs to be able to reference pages for the employees she assists. She needs to have a good understanding of what is offered, when things change and what is new – she subscribes.

CSI Homepage before



  • The development of personas, usability testing and validation revealed that Training Managers act and search the same way an existing student does although they have a broader mandate.
  • Designs were developed, approved and adopted readily.
  • Client was satisfied with results and reassured that a focused, realistic, user-centric approach was taken and supported.
  • Site launched November 2008.

Client feedback:

Working with personas we reduced the number of clicks to purchase a course and improved the purchasing process. Anecdotally we believe the abandonment rate has declined 10-13%.``

Student comment:

``Just wanted to compliment you on the great new website design. It is so much more convenient to use. Thank you.`

CSI Homepage Redesign by Prescient


Persona 1: Debbie

Information important to Debbie is offered on the home page with a `Find a course by`and maintaining the Top Courses so she can get a sense of what others are doing. As well, there are `Resources`which include a link to `New to CSI` which groups information specific for first time visitors like Debbie.


Persona 2: John

John will probably login first and then view `My CSI` and he will also be interested in Continuing Education to further his knowledge and career.


Persona 3: Mary

Mary has a broader interest and is more like to thoroughly explore the main navigation as well as utilize the resources. She will view the news so that she can update any of her employees on key offerings.