2016 Freshers’ Week User Testing

  • 23 November 2016, 12:30


The Web Services team is a user and data led team. We decided that a great time to do user testing, with new students, was during Freshers’ Week.

What we did

A survey was produced to test

  • Open Day attendance,
  • the new 360º Virtual Tour,
  • our communications during the admissions process,
  • social media,
  • matriculation,
  • the website overall.

Respondents were also asked what type of student they were (UG, PGT, PhD or Exchange) and what their domicile was (Scotland, EU, England, Wales, Northern Ireland or International). This was to allow the data to be filtered.

Freshers' Survey

How we did it

From Monday 5 September to Monday 12 September 2016 there were 30 people from across External Relations going out to speak with students and ask them to complete the survey. We focused our attention on Bonar Hall, DUSA, Enquiry Centre and the Library as these areas had a high concentration of new students.

Each student was handed an iPad Mini and asked to complete the survey which took 3-5 minutes to complete.


We targeted 500 responses and there were 575 students completed the survey.

Student Type

Undergraduate 429
Postgraduate 115
Exchange 26
PhD 5


Scotland 308
International 106
EU 83
England 51
Northern Ireland 26
Wales 1

Open Days

Did you attend one of our Open Days? Total %
No 323 56%
Yes 252 44%
Grand Total 575 100%

360º Virtual Tour

Did you use the 360 virtual tour? Total %
No 441 77%
Yes 134 23%
Grand Total 575 100%
Did you find the 360 virtual tour useful? Total %
No 11 8%
Yes 123 92%
Grand Total 134 100%
How would you rate the 360 virtual tour? Total %
0 2 2%
50 21 17%
100 103 82%
Grand Total 126 100%


Before arriving, what did you think of our communication? Total %
0 26 4.52%
50 126 21.91%
100 423 73.57%
Grand Total 575 100%
What did you think of the way we spoke to you? Total %
0 9 2%
50 42 7%
100 524 91%
Grand Total 575 100%
If you applied to more than one university, how did the amount of communication from us compare? Total %
0 17 3%
50 156 30%
100 352 67%
(blank) 0%
Grand Total 525 100%

Social Media

Thinking about social media, how many Facebook groups were you asked to join? Total %
0 104 18%
1 115 20%
2 132 23%
3 106 18%
4 9 2%
4+ 109 19%
Grand Total 575 100%
What is your favourite social media platform? Total %
Facebook 388 67%
Instagram 68 12%
Twitter 62 11%
Snapchat 40 7%
I don’t use social media 11 2%
LinkedIn 6 1%
Grand Total 575 100%
What is your preferred method of communication? Total %
Email 421 73%
Social media 139 24%
Postal letter 15 3%
Grand Total 575 100%


Had you ever heard of the word “Matriculation” before coming to Dundee? Total %
No 250 43%
Yes 325 57%
Grand Total 575 100%
How did you know where to be today for matriculation? Total %
Asked a friend 114 20%
Asked a member of staff 59 10%
Email with a link to website 132 23%
Email with all the information 161 28%
Social media 10 2%
Website 99 17%
Grand Total 575 100%


Overall, how well did our website meet your needs? Total %
0 6 1%
50 106 18%
100 463 81%
Grand Total 575 100%
How easy was it to find what you were looking for on our website? Total %
0 20 3%
50 186 32%
100 369 64%
Grand Total 575 100%
How visually appealing is our website? Total %
0 15 3%
50 136 24%
100 424 74%
Grand Total 575 100%
How easy is it to understand the information on our website? Total %
0 10 2%
50 111 19%
100 454 79%
Grand Total 575 100%
How much do you trust the information on our website? Total %
0 7 1%
50 56 10%
100 512 89%
Grand Total 575 100%
How likely would you be to recommend our website to someone else? Total %
0 9 2%
50 110 19%
100 456 79%
Grand Total 575 100%

How will the results affect change

If we can get prospective students to campus they are more likely to convert to matriculated students. This is proven from data from previous Open Days. Only Scottish respondents to the survey were in the majority that attended an Open Day. However, 92% of those that used the Virtual Tour found it useful. Work is underway to adapt the Virtual Tour for Virtual Reality headsets to be used at UCAS events to bring the students to Dundee in a fun and interactive way.


Looking at the communication section of the survey it can be seen that just over 26% of respondents were not completely satisfied with out communications.

Regarding social media, we can see that over 20% of respondents were asked to join 4 or more Facebook groups but we didn’t ask if that was positive or negative. That additional question shall be added to the survey for next year.

43% of respondents overall, rising to 50% of undergraduate respondents, have not heard the word ‘matriculation’ before coming to Dundee. This would suggest that using plain English would reduce confusion during Freshers’ Week for what is essentially registration.

40% of respondents had consulted the website to find out where matriculation took place but 30% asked a friend or staff member. Student feedback showed a lack of awareness and confusion about the matriculation process. Frequently, students wanted to feel reassured they were doing the ‘right thing’.

The website section shows that over 80% of respondents are happy with the website meeting their needs. Conversely, we need to be aware that one-third were having difficulty finding what they are looking for. This will inform work that I am looking at this semester. Using tools such as Optimal Workshop Treejack and OptimalSort, I will be investigating how we can improve the information architecture of the Study section and the website overall.

Written by:

Rob graduated from the University of Dundee in Applied Computing BSc (Hons) and Design Ethnography MSc. He has been working for the University since 2013.

Bringing the technical aspects from computing and the user research aspects from ethnography, he is our User Experience Manager.

Rob is often out of the office speaking to users and testing the website to new design thinking.

  • Show Comments and Reply Form

    3 Responses to “2016 Freshers’ Week User Testing”

    1. Hey Rob – it’s great to see Universities jumping into the sphere and more specifically, publishing the results of the test.

      It would have been nice to see if you’re able to pull some UNG or Pg into the testing experience – and by that I mean, have them help conduct the studies – perhaps HCI students?

      I do ask though, how did you go about user testing the students? Or was this study survey based?


      • Hi Preston.

        Thanks for taking time out of your day to comment.

        For this round of testing we had staff from our directorate out doing the testing. I felt it was important for them to speak to students directly. This testing was survey based. If you look at other posts in the UX category, you will see the top tasks workshops that we did late last year. Also take a look at our alpha website alpha.dundee.ac.uk


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