International Higher Education

New Decade, New Look, New Website: Introducing Complete University Guide 2020

Spring is a time for something new and, for the Complete University Guide, May 2020 brought with it the launch of a newly redesigned, mobile-first, and personalised website that gives students the optimum research experience.

While the redesign has very much put the needs of the students first, it has also created space for exciting new advertising features and enhanced targeting to ensure we continue delivering high quality leads for our partners.

Most importantly, students who visit the new Complete University Guide website leave knowledgeable, confident in their decisions, and with a high level of trust in the support they’ve received – putting them in the position where they are ready to make well-informed decisions about their future.

Download New CUG Brochure


Features of the new website

So, what exactly has changed about the new website? From the very start of the redesign process until the very end, the Complete University Guide team incorporated student collaboration in the form of workshops, user testing and surveys – to name but a few methods. From this student feedback and the input of our expert team of designers, the website was redesigned to deliver on the following key features:

A personalised experience: Not only do students want engaging, simple, and multimedia content, they want only what’s relevant to them and they don’t want to have to hunt for it. From an early stage in our user testing it became apparent that a personalised user experience isn’t just what students want, it’s what they expect, and delivering relevant, highly targeted content to each individual user has been a priority of the redesign throughout the development journey. The new site has revolutionary tracking and targeting capabilities, using intelligent design to learn from each user and deliver relevant, engaging and useful information that supports each student in taking the next step in their decision making. The site learns from every user, every visit, and every click, becoming exponentially more intelligent and enabling complete personalisation of the student experience.

New course search: As part of the site’s new personalised experience, we have lifted the matching technology from Whatuni, and placed this within the new Complete University Guide website. This allows students to tailor their journey on the site, focussing on the subject they’re wanting to study and finding the institution that best fits their filters including predicted grades and location, presenting them with courses and institutions that best match these criteria.

Mobile-first: The trend towards primary use of mobile devices is most evident in today’s prospective students and is set to increase in the generations to come. Generation Z expects to be able to do every stage of research on their smartphones, from course searching and browsing institutions to booking open days. In the past, the Complete University Guide suffered from slow load times and less-effective display options on mobile screens. With the redesign, Complete University Guide isn’t just mobile-friendly, it’s mobile-first, future-proofing its appeal for years to come.

Simple user journey: Feedback from students was that, at times, the site could be difficult or confusing to navigate. After many series of redevelopment with feedback from student testers at every stage, the new website is built to allow for a smooth and simple user journey that makes it easy for students to find the information they need at each stage. We have introduced key CTAs at critical points in the student’s research, including 4 on university profile pages, linking to appropriate sites and pages to push students further through the funnel at the optimal stages of their journey.

Easy to understand, engaging content: Students no longer want long-form written content, and they certainly don’t want to have to work hard to find and understand information. The new Complete University Guide recognises the preferences of students and has a heavy emphasis on video content as well as new infographics that are specifically created to appeal to the student of today and tomorrow. Where written content is used, it’s carefully curated and segmented to make it easy to navigate and understand, maximising engagement. The site’s focus on ease of use is most evident with the new League Table designs. After multiple rounds of user testing, feedback, and returning to the drawing board, the new League Tables are presented with a % score format and simplified design that makes it easier for students to understand, break down, and use.

Attractive, modern design: Last but not least, there’s the new look itself. While the new design prioritised substance over style, the team certainly didn’t scrimp on the latter. We know students like it because they were involved in the process, giving their input on everything from the colour palette to the font. From the modernised mortarboard logo to the snazzed-up homepage, updated university profiles and of course the redesigned League Tables, every page of the Complete University Guide has been modernised, restyled, and aesthetically improved to meet the tastes and preferences of students.


New Products and Advertising Enhancements

While the redesign was led by students, it is built on positive outcomes for our partners. The new site is all about connecting highly engaged, well informed, and suitably qualified students, primed to make their higher education choices, with partner universities that meet their requirements. To deliver on this aim, the new website has not only developed and enhanced existing advertising methods, but also introduced innovative new methods for institutions to attract, engage with, and convert quality prospective students.

University Profiles: The newly redesigned university profile pages are optimised to attract, engage with, and push down the funnel, actively researching students who are a good fit with your institution. Acting as your virtual ambassador, the new profile pages incorporate new infographics, multimedia content that is personalised to the student, and 4 CTA buttons that direct the student to a positive next step, including booking open days, requesting a prospectus, or visiting your site.

Featured University: A new and exciting opportunity that puts your institution front and centre for students who are actively engaged in the search for their future course and university, targeting by subject and/or location. Featured University uses highly engaging video content to place your institution at the top of the Compete University institution League Tables or subject League Tables. A key position, targeting key students, at a key stage in their research, with content that drives both brand awareness and clicks.

Targeted Banners: The heightened intelligence and personalisation of the user journey come into their own again through delivering targeted banner adverts with new levels of accuracy. All the data collected from student users means that your advert is placed in front of students who are your core recruitment market. You can target by study level, subject, clearing, study mode and geo-location.

Audience Retargeting: Stay front of mind for relevant, engaged and end-of-funnel students even when they leave the Complete University Guide website. Enhanced audience retargeting is available as Display, Social Media, or Video, and using real-time data and insights, you can effectively retarget students who have been researching your courses, or the courses of your direct competitors.

For more information on the new website, its features, and how it can support your institution to connect with the right students download our information pack below.

Download New CUG Brochure

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