They also hoped that the quiz would catch the attention of the national press during this high profile period. While many universities feature on 24-hour news channels during clearing, few create this kind of interactive content to drive traffic to their websites.
Modelling the quiz
St Mary’s have a great team of digital specialists and content creators. So, when they approached us to explore the idea of building the quiz, they had already created design concepts and prototype content. What they were looking for was help with making it a reality.
Their aim was to recreate the kind of simple personality quizzes that online publishers use to drive traffic to their websites. In these kinds of quizzes visitors answer several multiple-choice questions and logic built into the quiz produces one or more suggested results. In the case of the clearing quiz, for example, if a visitor chooses answers that are all exercise related then the logic would return sports science courses in the results.
On top of this, rather than creating a one-off quiz for the CourseFeed campaign, St Mary’s were keen to build an application that would allow them to reuse the functionality for future quizzes if the campaign was successful.
Our customer experience squad began by working with the team at St Mary’s to model the content for the application. This involved breaking the questions, answers, and results down into their constituent parts and figuring out the most effective way to store the content for use now and in the future.
Creating a reusable application
As St Mary’s wanted to be able to add new content and create new quizzes, we decided to use Contensis content types and entries to store the content for the application. Content types are a way to model structured content, allowing content strategists and developers to build forms that authors can use to create individual content items called entries. This would make it easy for content creators at St Mary's to add the content for each quiz. Best of all, we could use just two content types – one for the quiz questions and one for the results.
A quiz consists of up to 8 questions. Each of these questions is created as an entry using the quiz question content type. Once an author has given their question a title – “What’s your favourite book?”, for example – they can add up to 8 answer components. Components are simply sets of pre-defined fields, like a mini content type, that can be added to areas called composers to give authors a way of repeating and rearranging elements on a page within constraints set out by the person who created the content type. These answer components can be reordered, giving the team at St Mary’s an easy way to change the way they are laid out on the quiz page. And, as some quizzes might be multiple choice, an author can also specify how many answers a users can select.
Authors can link each answer – "Lean in 15", for example – to a maximum of three results. These results are themselves entries created using another content type called quiz results. Content authors create the result by adding a title, description, image, and the URL for the course referenced in the result. If required, they can also add a URL for a course category page that lists similar courses. Creating the results as entries allows each one to be reused across multiple answers if necessary.
Because an answer can be linked to multiple courses, we added a field into the answer component to allow St Mary’s to add a weighting for each course.
This means that an answer such as "Lean in 15" can be linked to the both Health and Fitness FdSc and Nutrition BSc courses, for example. In this case the Health and Fitness FdSc, which is only loosely related to the answer, might have just 50 points. Meanwhile, the Nutrition BSc – which has a stronger association with that answer – would be given a higher weighting of 90.
At the end, all the chosen answers have all their related courses points tallied up based on their weighting. The highest scoring courses from this list will then be shown.
Once they had modelled the content for the quiz, our customer experience squad members, Patrick and Atarad, created the template for the quiz page and wrote the logic to evaluate a participant’s answers and produce the corresponding results.
As with any project, there was a lot of back and forth between the squad and the team at St Mary’s about the finer points of certain functionality. This wasn’t a problem as our customer experience squad is set up so squad members work like an extension of a Contensis customer’s web team. So, as St Mary’s tested early versions of the quiz they were able to add comments and upload new assets to our help desk system. Atarad and Patrick then made any changes and sent a new version for them to test.
"Atti and Patrick were brilliant! Throughout development they were in easy contact and when issues arose they reacted swiftly. When Atti began developing the functionality we spent a long time discussing the exact way each piece of the puzzle worked, ensuring that things were developed in the most logical way and that everyone was clear about what was happening."
James Peach, St Mary's
Once St Mary’s were happy with the way the quiz app worked we packaged it up as a reusable control that their content creators can use to drop quizzes into web pages.
St Mary’s scores top marks
"The quiz performed fantastically," according to James. "Click-throughs from the adverts were higher than anything we’d seen before and feedback on social media by users was predominantly positive about the accuracy. We even saw some users who landed on the quiz go on to enquire or apply about courses through clearing."
"We were blown away by how well the quiz went down with users. Not only did it achieve the results mentioned above, we also succeeded in receiving press coverage. On A-level results day one of our Pro Vice-Chancellors appeared on BBC News to discuss the quiz and SportsBeat included it as part of their syndicated coverage of clearing at St Mary’s."
James Peach, St Mary's
Not only did CourseFeed catch the attention of potential students, but it was also picked up by the press – featuring on BBC News on A-level results day. “As a result, throughout the first half of August more people accessed the quiz than the University homepage.” James says. “Directly after the coverage on BBC News, traffic to the website increased by over 650%."
St Mary's have been so pleased with the results that they've quickly started using the quiz builder to create other campaigns. “We've already made quizzes to help future students work out which course from our suite of business programmes would best suit them.” Says James. “We’re also currently mapping out a range of other quizzes to help inform users and to engage them with student life at St Mary’s.”