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Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

Auditing our undergraduate study site content to support the new degree finder launch

Following designing the new degree finder programme pages, we turned our attention to auditing the undergraduate study site. Our aim was to figure out what content should remain on the site given content changes we have made to undergraduate programme pages.

What we audited

We audited everything in our undergraduate study site that wasn’t degree finder programme pages.

This includes our sections on:

  • Entry requirements and applying
  • Fees and funding
  • Access Edinburgh
  • Student Life
  • Open days, events and visits

We also looked at our undergraduate subsite, which houses information specific to the upcoming entry year.

Our current undergraduate study site

Goals of the audit

There were four primary goals of the audit:

  • to identify crossover with content on the new undergraduate programme pages we designed
  • to identify pages we no longer need because of low page views or value, or if the new programme pages provide this content instead
  • to redevelop the information architecture (or structure) of the study site
  • to help develop ideas for how to structure new pages of content

How the audit worked

The current structure of the site is largely dictated by both legacy choices and structural limitations, so our audit method depended on what section we were looking at.

For example, some sections are organised by audience rather than task, which results in a lot of duplicate content. In those cases, we wanted to identify what content is duplicated and how we could shift from an audience-based to a task-based information architecture.

Other sections were structured around tasks. But because our current site structure separates out current and future entry years, there’s lots of duplicate, or very slightly different, content across the subsections.  In those cases, we wanted to identify how much was duplicated and how we could combine content about different entry years together in one place.

What we found

It was easy to combine content for separate entry years

We found a large amount of duplicate content across the two years of entry, meaning there were relatively few places where unique content for each entry year existed.

This meant it was easy for us to think of ways to combine content for multiple entry years. In most cases, all we need to do is provide a separate subheading for each year of entry, or take out the year-specific reference to make it applicable to both.

Aiming for a task-based information architecture will decrease the number of pages in the site

In our fees and funding section, which is currently organised around the country/region a prospective student is from, we audited the content to propose how we could get toward a more task-based structure for this section.

When assessing content in each country/region section, we discovered a lot of duplication and came up with a proposed new structure for this section that is based on fees and funding tasks, rather than location.

By taking this approach, we’ve drastically reduced the number of pages in this section. What is currently a 30-page section of the site is likely to be just 7 pages when we launch the new undergraduate study site.

Fewer pages will make it easier for our team to manage this content and ensure it’s up to date.

Analytics helped us make decisions about what to remove and what to keep

Our Performance Analyst, Carla, provided us with analytics for the past academic year for the site, including pages views and time on page. These figures helped us decide what content to remove (though they were not always the deciding factor). They also helped us determine what to keep.

For example, our plan with the Student life section going into the audit was to significantly trim it down. This is because the new undergraduate programme pages are going to have a Life at Edinburgh section that will either host student life content or link out to relevant services in this area.

What we found while auditing, though, was some pages in this section had higher views than we expected. For example, our page on clubs and societies was one of the most viewed on the site. So while our programme pages will host content on clubs and societies, we made the decision to keep a page on this in the undergraduate study site for now.

Once the new degree finder launches, we can monitor views of the page to see if it’s worth keeping on the site or if students are now accessing this content from programme pages.

What’s next

Off the back of this audit, we now have a to-do list for how we are going to redevelop content in the undergraduate site and what content we are going to remove.

Our next step is to create and redevelop the content changes we have proposed and review them with subject matter experts where needed.

Our new undergraduate study site will launch in March 2025 along with the new undergraduate degree finder.

Read more of our updates about our future state project

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