Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

Category: Content strategy and design

The theory and practice of everything content strategy – strategic, operational stuff, content and systems design..

..anything that’s relevant inside the content life-cycle – including search, IA, SEO etc. would fall under this category.

A term I hear too often in meetings about digital content is “signposting”. In my view it’s a cop out and it’s incredibly damaging to the student experience. We need to focus on students’ task success instead.

Last November, we worked with Communications and Marketing colleagues to evolve the undergraduate offer holders website. The purpose of this website is to encourage offer holders to accept their offer at the University of Edinburgh

While working with colleagues in schools on the latest degree finder update, I noticed the content sent through to us reflected common mistakes in writing for the web. Here are my tips for creating digital content that is informative, accessible, and that provides the best possible experience for prospective students. 

I look back on what we learned by running six design sprints over the spring and summer of 2021, both in terms of shaping the research and design technique to suit our circumstances, and in terms of what this has meant for shaping the future provision for prospective students.

After adding links to school-specific guidance in our content around teaching and learning in 2021-22, we found that prospective students only interacted with content from a handful of schools.

Since the spring, our team has been working with the Enquiry Management Team to update website content to answer the questions prospective students are emailing about.

It’s a little over a year since we delivered our first user-centred enhancement project and I’ve been looking at analytics to dig deeper into how we’ve influenced website visitor behaviour to reduce unnecessary email enquiries. Analysis shows we influenced over 25% to self serve rather than make an enquiry.

I recently audited our prospective student web estate, and learned a lot about the planning process as I went. Here’s some advice on how to tackle your own content audit. I’ve broken the process down into a few simple steps.

Auditing sounds scary. It’s one of those things that often gets overlooked because it just feels too hard or because we don’t have time for it. But it’s essential if you want to manage your content efficiently and minimise risk.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are not a sensible way to structure web content. They might be easy to produce, but they’re difficult to consume and risky to manage. Here are five solid reasons to ditch your FAQ pages.

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