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Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

Design sprint 4 prototype walkthrough

In Sprint 4 we explored making entry requirements as clear as possible for UK undergraduates, with particular focus on the experience of widening participation candidates.

This post is part of a series, summarising our learning as we prototyped and tested potential future features for prospective students.

See the full video series list

Sprint goals

Our goal was to explore how we might empower applicants to understand their chances of application success regardless of the nature of the qualifications they hold or anticipate gaining. In this sprint we set out to make it clearer the entry requirements a particular audience needs to meet by creating a degree programme page that allows a prospective student to tailor the entry requirement information they see.

How we built the prototype

We used the interactive prototyping software Axure to build this prototype. As we weren’t considering presentational design at this point, we kept the interface looking broadly as it does in the existing degree finders.

We knew from our research with staff, current and prospective students that the use of the terms ‘standard’ and ‘minimum’ entry requirements were a source of confusion and enquiries.

We chose to explore a way to present the ‘minimum’ entry requirements separately from the ‘standard’ ones. This gave us the opportunity to also explore a way for prospective students to check whether they might qualify for a widening access offer. We also explored changing some language, because some of the widening access terminology in use was unclear to the applicants.

In addition, we re-structured the text in the Entry Requirements section to simplify it. We included information on the selection process and admissions statistics, to explore the usefulness of this in conveying the competitiveness of a programme.

How we presented to students

Because we wanted students to encounter both standard and minimum entry requirements and gauge their understanding of the information we were providing, we designed a scenario involving parents living in different parts of Edinburgh so that the student would try the eligibility checker twice. By entering different postcodes, we knew they would be presented with different entry requirements.

Prototype scenario video walkthrough

In this video, Nicola gives a tour of the prototype service interface we created in this sprint. She highlights the key features, how we intended it to work and our rationale.

The prototype was developed in little over a day with contributions from the whole team, using everything we learned from the previous week’s research and the contributions of our subject matter experts during the sprint workshops.

What we learned from testing our ideas for sprint 4

The re-structured introductory text in the entry requirements section was clear and the information on selection process inspired confidence. The admissions statistics information received mixed reactions, being seen as useful to some but potentially off-putting to others.

The placement of the selection process and admissions statistics was less effective, causing some participants to look for the entry requirements within that information instead of further down the page.

The functionality of the widening access ‘eligibility checker’ was mostly clear with minimal points of confusion.

There were two possible outcomes:

  • Firstly, being eligible for a widening access offer, where you would be asked to meet the minimum entry requirements. In this first outcome the minimum requirements were presented with the outcome.
  • Secondly, you were not eligible and would need to meet the standard entry requirements. In this case we did not present the standard entry requirements. We wanted to see if applicants would recognise that they were the same standard entry requirements present in the page, but they struggled to locate them. The ‘widening access’ terminology we used was not completely understood.

An important point was made by the participants – they had been involved in a widening access programme. So, they were not in need of a facility to check their eligibility, they knew they were eligible and just wanted to see the entry requirements that were applicable to them.

What we learned – video walkthrough

In this video, Nicola runs through the prototype service interface highlighting the aspects that worked particularly well for the students we tested with, and the aspects that confused them or didn’t meet their expectations.

Read more

Read more about the user research done in this sprint on the Future Students blog

List of all design sprint summary videos

All blog posts about our degree finder design sprints


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