Sheffield Hallam University

A new online prospectus for to present more accessible, clearer information about life at Sheffield Hallam University

Highlights

  1. Page views to the 'courses' pages have increased by 20%
  2. Exits have reduced from 17% to 15% and refinements have increased from 22% to 28%
  3. Interactions with the My Prospectus button has increased by 539%

Background

Formerly Sheffield Polytechnic, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) was granted university status in 1992. One of the UK's largest and most diverse universities, SHU is set in the heart of Sheffield one in ten residents are students. 

SHU is now the 8th largest university in the UK, with over 30,000 students (of whom over 4,000 are international), over 700 courses and almost 5,000 staff, contributing £80m to the local Sheffield economy. 

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Business drivers

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The average student debt in the UK is £50k and a central topic on political party manifestos. More and more students are seeking value for money, but only 32% of students believe they receive that.

With the Competition Markets Authority publishing new guidance in March 2015, universities are obligated to be compliant with relevant consumer law. For SHU, compliance was to be achieved digitally – through presenting more accessible and clearer information on its website about the composition of courses, how they will be delivered, and life at SHU.

We have worked with SHU since June 2017 – having helped with the migration of their Sitecore Experience Platform development operations.

Solution

The focus was on what students see at application stage, helping them to make a fully informed decision not just about the course, but life at Hallam; the university, the city, the accommodation and all relevant expenses.

We provided a multi-disciplinary team to work alongside SHU, supporting their Marketing and Digital Technology (DTS) functions in defining, designing and delivering a large-scale redevelopment of the Online Prospectus (OLP). This process has:

  • Improved search results; implementing content that adds value to the course offers and incorporating relevant student stories
  • Enabled students to more easily filter search results to find what they need
  • Implemented a clean, easy to use design, summarising key course information and giving this priority at the top of course pages

Outcome

The redesigned online prospectus went live in October 2017. Since then, SHU have experienced:

  • An increase of page views for the Courses pages of 20%  
  • A reduction in exits to the site (17% to 15%) and greater engagement with the course refiners (22% to 28%)
  • Interactions with the My Prospectus button has increased by 539%  
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