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Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

Design Sprints: Get involved to shape the future degree finder

We are committed to an inclusive, collaborative approach to the development of a degree finder replacement. Find out how you can support us and get involved.

I firmly believe that we will achieve the best result for the future of the degree finder if we:

  • include a range of expertise, collaborating and co-designing together
  • regularly check our work-in-progress with target audiences
  • design incrementally and evolve as we learn

The design sprint process helps us to do this, but it’s only a framework. It needs people.

That’s where colleagues involved in services to prospective students come in.

Every sprint we need you to come along with us. If this sounds like something you might like to do, read on…

What’s a design sprint?

I recently wrote a blog to explain what design sprints are all about and why we’re doing them. If you’ve never heard of design sprints, it’s a good place to start.

Designing a new degree finder collaboratively and iteratively – my intro post about Design Sprints

In summary though:

  1. Our team prepare for the sprint by gathering user research and securing colleagues’ participation.
  2. We run two half-day design workshops to focus in on a problem and rapidly generate lots rough solution ideas.
    • These workshops involve our team, members of relevant central services and school-based colleagues – about 8-to-10 in total.
  3. Our team build a coherent prototype using the most popular rough ideas. We also write a corresponding user research script.
  4. Our team try out the prototype concept with a small number of the target audience.
  5. We play back the research recordings and collaboratively decide what worked, what didn’t, and what merits further attention.
    • These playback sessions are open to anyone who would like to contribute. While we are really limited in terms of participation in the design workshops (step 2), for these sessions we can accommodate many more colleagues.
  6. We build our learning into the ongoing design, and then agree focus for the next design sprint.

How you can get involved

We have three areas in our design sprints where we really want your involvement:

  • Participation in design workshops (commitment: 2 half day sessions)
  • Attendance at research playback sessions, contributing to prioritisation (commitment: about 2 hours)
  • Help to recruit students for our research (commitment: communication and promotion to encourage students to register)

… it was really interesting to be a part of this experience and to work toward something positive for both prospective students and us…

Pilot sprint participant

Design sprint workshop participation

Composite image of people in a videoconference and sketches of user interfaces

Design sprint workshops are fast moving and highly collaborative. Working together in Microsoft Teams and on a virtual whiteboad we create many rough concepts and refine.

When we run a design sprint, we run two half-day design workshops to focus in on a problem and rapidly generate lots rough solution ideas. They’re high energy, creative and hopefully fun.

Commitment: These sessions run on consecutive days, and you need to be available to participate fully in both.

Recruitment for this research is now closed. 

Research playback sessions

After the co-design, prototyping and user research phases of every sprint, we are committed to sharing the student experiences of interacting with our work-in-priogress. We will run an open invite session you can book onto.

Because of the nature of the sprints, there will be limited advance notice of these events but I hope that as we become better at running sprints the lead time will increase to about a week.

We will promote these sessions via this blog, and email the Future Student Experiences mailing list.

Join our mailing list to be notified of events we’re running

Recruit students for our user research

A really fundamental part of everything we do is learning by watching students interact with our work.

Working at pace in these design sprints, we really need easy access to a bank of potential student research participants that we can invite to get involved.

If you can help us by encouraging students you work with to register to participate, it’d be a great help.

This could be current Edinburgh students who can play the role of a prospective student, or even better, people who are considering or actively applying to study with us.

Recruitment for this research is now closed.


If you’ve any questions before getting involved, please drop us a line.

Team contact details

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