The web-site is now in readonly mode. Login and registration are disabled. (28 June 2019)

Clare Withers - Targeted websites

Cloud created by:

Clare withers
1 April 2013

I was working as an Instructional Designer at a University producing relevant and timely information advice and guidance to help students make an informed choice about their future study choices.


Students are used to using online materials to find out about their options for continuing their study. The information had to take account of differing student situations such as their physical location, funding options and types of modules available to study. There were a number of stakeholders within the University who needed to contribute to the information. The information had to be provided in a clear and concise way in order to make it easy for students to find the information relevant to their personal situation.


The measure of success was the number of students self serving via the website and moving through to online registration.


I spoke with IT developers to see if we could identify the different student types so that we could target the information they saw. Once the IT systems were in place I collated the information for each student type and wrote materials based on this. The text was circulated to the stakeholders for comment and approval. The information was then tested to ensure that each student was seeing the appropriate information.


The result was targeted website based on a students personal attributes. Students only saw the information advice and guidance that was relevant to them and didn't need to navigate complex information. The objectives were met. 


Based on this experience many of our other information websites are now targeted to ensure that students see information relevant to them.

Extra content

Embedded Content

added by Clare withers


Amanda Smith
6:34pm 1 April 2013

I think you explain the situtation very well Claire and I can immediately see what it is you are trying to achieve. Testing it to see if it works first is clearly important and provides evidence that the design is effective. The fact the students only end up seeing what they need to suggests your conclusion is well founded and based on evidence.


Dave Martin
9:06am 2 April 2013

Targeting student types sounds a very good way to try and improve their experience of choosing their next options.

Did the success criterion of the number of students moving on to register show an improvement on previous years?

Avril sweeney
2:52pm 2 April 2013

Amanda, I like your design narrative, clear and to the point.

You had good results I guess because you 'targetted' your audience and ' tailored' your responses. You also prepared in advance for different student requirements by 'investigating ' what the student  requirements in advance  were.  It was very useful that students were able to receive responses relevant to them and their situation/didn't need to navigate complex information.

Can I ask how long it took from design to set up to live system? I know it can take a while to liase with different departments to get things done?



Ashleigh Brownsmith
9:01am 3 April 2013

This sounds good - have you collected any feedback from the students regarding what they think of the system as yet?  If so, are their feeling positive?  Has this translated into current students continuing their studies (do you monitor progression?)  Has their been any other feedback from colleagues (perhaps criticism due to them feeling that their course is getting promoted less than before, or support due to ensuring applications are relevant?).  This sort of targetted system has many possibilities and its interesting to see how these are perceived by different stakeholders.


Clare withers
10:03am 3 April 2013

Avril - from design to implementation it took approximately 5 months. It was a strategic priority for the University so that helped with getting the relevant departments to do their bit.

Ashleigh - students have been positive in their feedback. Some of this can be attributed to them not being aware of issues affecting different student types but they are certainly not having to sift out the information relevant to them. Colleagues have also been very positive in their response to the targeting. The targeting is not done at course level but at a residency/fee/qualification framework level. Initially it did take a little while for frontline staff to appreciate the different student views but on the whole it has been welcomed. 


Contribute to the discussion

Please log in to post a comment. Register here if you haven't signed up yet.