Trends in online Clearing content for 2014
Clearing and adjustment are a key summer milestone for institutional web teams. I’ve followed up on my ‘Snapshot of all UK University homepages‘ from last month and have been looking through UK university websites for different and innovative approaches to Clearing this year. In no particular order, here’s some I noticed:
The University of Manchester are looking to reassure frantic users by leading on their homepage with the calming message ‘You’ve come to the right place’, accompanying an image of a glorious, and rain-free, Manchester skyline with a location pin over the university.
One page responsive
Leicester’s one-page responsive design stands out. On desktop browsers above a certain width (800px?) a full-width video auto plays with cutaways of the campus and students. On mobile browsers this is replaced with a still image. ‘Facts and Figures’ and ‘Entry requirements’ are presented strongly and cleanly with a (not-quite-)infinite scroll series of photos and videos at the bottom.
Pre-registering to receive an email when more details become available was a feature for several universities, including Leeds Met, Hertfordshire and (less prominently) Oxford Brookes.
Aston University included a countdown clock, showing days, hours, minutes and seconds until Clearing begins.
University of East London have a ‘Points calculator’ on the homepage, encouraging users to enter their confirmed/predicted UCAS points and see which courses are available to them. The background image for the calculator is a Samsung Galaxy tablet, highlighting their offer of a “brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet loaded with your core text books and £900 of credit over the duration of your course to spend on study-related items”.
Hertfordshire have placed a bold black triangle bookmark in the bottom right corner of the browser screen (the screen as opposed to the page, the bookmark stays on screen as you scroll down the page). This seems (based on an unscientific five or six clicks…) to persist throughout the site.
Teeside and UWS have both created standalone microsites with the normal site navigation stripped away to focus solely on Clearing. Even the individual course descriptions for UWS are presented within the context of its Clearing site, rather than links to their normal online prospectus.
Anglia Ruskin go a step further still and make a direct intervention into the user journey with a pop-up as you first view their homepage asking you to choose between Clearing and their normal website.
Lincoln [above] promote a live link-up on Wednesday, whilst Salford [below] have opening times (presumably for their telephone lines?) listed on their homepage.
Several institutions concentrate on telling the personal story of their students that have been Clearing previously. In particular, Northumbria and Newcastle are both good examples of this approach.