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Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

Design sprint 5 prototype walkthrough

In Design Sprint 5, we explored a way to provide international entry requirements that applied specifically to an individual’s circumstances.

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.

While the underlying goal was the same as for Sprint 4 (where we looked at widening participation criteria for UK students), this time our focus was on international students and the qualifications they have gained overseas.

The starting point for our design this time was a drop-down for selecting the country that your qualification comes from, with subsequent steps depending on the initial country selected.

To help prospective students determine their eligibility to apply, we provided a checking feature where they could provide some information about themselves:

  • What is your nationality?
  • Where do you live?
  • What subjects are you studying and what grades do you have or expect to get?

We chose these criteria because we had learned that these things can affect which entry requirements a person would need to meet, and that this nuance might not be included in the country entry requirements in the web page.

This also gave us an opportunity to test a stronger message, stating that a person’s answers would make them ineligible to apply, as a way to dissuade applications from people who don’t meet the entry requirements, which we had learned was a common occurrence.

How we presented to students

International entry requirements are a very complex area, and we spent a significant amount of time drafting and refining our test scenario with extensive support of college admissions experts and in Student Recruitment and Admissions.

Because of the complexity, which led to a lot of planning for the operation of the prototype, we used a narrative which we expected would result in participants encountering some firm direction and also some information where they may conclude to get in touch. We know that enquiries relating to international qualifications are very common, so this gave us the opportunity to explore students’ expectations of an enquiry process.

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 5

Including the entry requirements in the programme page tested very well. The eligibility checker was also seen as very helpful as a preliminary step before deciding to apply or make an enquiry.

The strong message to deter applicants who would not be successful did not perform well because the wording came across as very unfriendly.

The step in the ‘checker’ where the applicant was asked their grades needed further clarity on whether they should put in confirmed or expected grades.

At the end of the checker we provided links to related programmes, participants expected these to be programmes they would be eligible for, having already completed the steps in the eligibility checking feature.

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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