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Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

Video walk throughs of design sprint prototypes

Our design sprints generated an amazing amount of ideas in a short period of time, and most importantly, feedback from students on which ideas were good ones. Our design sprint lead, Nicola Dobiecka, talks through our prototypes and what we learned.

Video series

I’ve pulled together a series of blog posts to showcase the prototypes we produced and what we learned from exposing them to students in user research sessions.

In each of the videos that accompanies each blog post, Nicola first gives a tour of how the interface was intended to work, and then an overview of what we learned (also known as, how they worked in reality).

  1. The search experience. What do students most value when identifying and comparing our programme offering?
  2. Personalisation. How might we keep content relevant at every stage of a prospective students decision-making process?
  3. Fees. How might we empower students to confidently calculate their total cost of study, understanding the elements that are certain, variable or estimated?
  4. Entry requirements #1. How might we empower UK widening participation candidates to understand their chances of application success regardless of the nature of the qualifications they hold or anticipate gaining?
  5. Entry requirements #2. How might we empower applicants with overseas qualifications to understand their chances of application success regardless of the nature of the qualifications they hold or anticipate gaining?
  6. Funding. How might we make all Edinburgh student funding opportunities findable and comprehensible?


We ran a series of design sprints through the spring and summer to help us understand how we might approach building new digital services as part of a future degree finder.

Reflections on a summer of design sprints – my summary of our work

What are design sprints and why were we doing them? – my introductory blog (March 2021)

Why we’ve created these videos

Back in the spring when we were planning how we were going to run our design sprints, I had high hopes that we would be building a prototype and evolving it through the course of each sprint. (You’ll see me talk about it in my earliest blog posts announcing the sprints).

As it turns out, this was too much to ask as the team worked flat out through the summer to plan, deliver and test a series of stand-alone prototypes which focused on different areas of content and service. There just wasn’t enough time and we concluded early on that the value of this process was to develop and learn fast. Refining an imperfect master prototype which we would ultimately need to abandon would be largely a distraction and a waste of time.

Plus, because of the complexity of some of the features we were experimenting with, our prototypes only worked for very specific scenarios. Straying from the interactions we planned would break the prototype immediately.

So Nicola and I concluded that a better way to showcase our work would be in a series of videos rather than leaving colleagues across the University to play with the prototypes themselves.

And that’s the thing about sprints – we learn as we go, we adjust our plans according to opportunities and constraints and we stay focused on our desired outcomes.

In this case, our desired outcome has been to share our learning and showcase what a future state for the degree finders could be. (And in a few instances, what they absolutely shouldn’t be).

Read more

More blog posts about our degree finder design sprints

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