Design strategy Design systems Concept development 3D design and animation Motion design Interactive design Experience design
Toby Margetts - UX Director - Squiz Catia Pedrosa - Sr. UX Designer - Squiz Chris Burnell - Sr. Developer - Squiz Matthew Partridge - Sr. Account Manager - Squiz
Every year LSBU recognised that clearing was a painful process, and notoriously left students confused and demotivated with the processes differing slightly from the general application process.
As a strategic partner, my team were tasked with providing LSBU with digital solutions to improve the clearing application process. The output desired was open (although feasibility and budget adherence were of course followed), but it was requested that we 'think different'.
Whilst the number of applicants placed into Universities remains far greater than pre:covid figures, the number of placements yearly remains on the decline.
With the placement figure appearing to be on the decline, we recognised the opportunity to use data gathered during the pandemic to help LSBU streamline the clearing process.
Off the back of an initial workshop, we entered a research stage where we agreed to conduct a period of research, followed by interviewing students that had gone through the clearing process specifically within LSBU.
Whilst the total number of applicants successfully placed into UK universities via UCAS have dropped year-on-year, figures are still higher than pre-covid levels.
6% fewer students got placed at their firm choice university compared to 2021.
Acceptances of applicants from outside of the EU are up 14% year-on-year.
The pace of growth in accepted applicants coming from China is increasing, with numbers growing by 31% year-on-year, compared to growth of 14% in 2021
In 2022, a total of 35,000 students (7.5%) were placed through clearing.
The chart above shows that the number of students placed at their firm choice university is down by 5.6% year-on-year, indicating a greater focus on clearing should be exercised by universities.
Meanwhile, there has been a 32.7% increase in students placed through clearing, the first year-on-year increase in this category since pre-covid. Similarly, the number of students placed at their insurance universities is up 21.5%, following two years of decline.
Figures show that the number of first-year students who do not have accommodation guaranteed is likely to be growing. As we move into the future, and grade boundaries are returned to normal levels, we can expect to see these numbers continue to rise. Many of these students will look at private PBSA if they are unable to get placed in university provided halls, as it has a similar sense of community, and is able to provide a level of convenience that is attractive to young adults moving away from home for the first time, e.g. by having all-inclusive bills.
To conclude our research, we were able to identify clear trends and patterns in the direction clearing was heading in, and off the back of interviewing a low number of students who had gone through the clearing process, we pinpointed a clear lack of guidance in how students go through the clearing process.
I worked with the team in creating a number of wireframes to reflect layout, functionality, and component application. We leant on the data that we had collected to make sure specific functionalities were included to support prospective international students, and other specific use cases.
I worked with the digital team at LSBU in ensuring the delivery of Clearing Hub segregated itself far enough from the aesthetic of the website and app, but fully adhered to brand and felt apart of the LSBU core family.
I initiated the design with a workshop that focussed on design, interaction, and technical application (with the kind help of a senior dev).
I then proceeded to design an interactive prototype that pulled in core journeys that tackled specific pain points that had been discussed in the early stages of the project. Once complete, I worked with development in the build, QA-ing throughout until deployment.
We tested and refined a couple of times prior to go-live.
We received a lot of great, thought evoking feedback off the back of go-live. The knowledge base will continue to be treating as an ever-growing infrastructure that gathers data from it's users and continues to grow in the way it delivers content until LSBU take it into phase 2.