During “Clearing”, a process where universities advertise last-minute vacancies on their courses, users needed to quickly find and apply to courses by telephoning each university and speaking with admissions staff. Users find this process stressful due to courses being in high demand, often filled within hours of publication.
I completed an analysis with Higher Education sector experts and users, and it was clear that there were significant frustrations with the current application system. Users were left stressed and frustrated after speaking with admissions teams at multiple universities on the phone. Universities found the process frustrating and expensive as they needed to recruit telephone operators to handle the calls from users. We discussed these findings with business stakeholders and identified an opportunity to streamline the process for users and universities by building an online multi-application system on the existing Whatuni website.
Working for the business as a Senior Contractor, I had direct responsibility for the project delivery, owning the project from ideation through to development and final release.
The project delivered over 2000 new applications to UK universities in its first year. This contributed significantly to new company revenue, and importantly did not have a detrimental impact on the existing product and revenue model for Whatuni. The Product also boosted the brand as the multi-course application system was the first of its kind in the sector.
What was learnt
- The project was the first time a UX Researcher was hired to host user and usability testing sessions. This freed up some of my time to concentrate more on the design process and writing the user stories & requirements.
- The BETA launch provided the opportunity to A/B test and refine elements of the application form before the more crucial final launch.
- Our post launch analysis indicated that some users found the search & matching element overwhelming and confusing. It would have been better to develop a simpler solution that worked for the majority instead of a complex one that worked for all user cases.
Whatuni GO is an online application system that helps users search and match with courses at UK universities based on a wide variety of personal preferences and attributes. The application system allows users to send an application to multiple universities with a single submission.
Project goal & Success measures
- To help users find, match, and apply to multiple courses with a single application.
- To increase the revenue from university partners for application referrals.
- To Increase user registrations.