The Telegraph Clearing app

The Telegraph Clearing app 2016: traffic doubles and students are more engaged than ever

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Client

The Telegraph

Timeline

Spring & Summer 2016

Services

Ideation, prototyping, design & development, hosting & high traffic event support

Technologies

Angular, Ionic, Cordova, DynamoDB, MySQL & PHP

Output

Mobile & tablet app for iOS and Android

As the hopes and dreams of many hung in the balance on results day, months of intensive planning, thoughtful design and experienced digital product development paid off for The Telegraph and Human.

Although this relationship has delivered a Clearing app successfully for several years, 2016 has been stellar:

  • Double the year-on- year traffic in the app
  • ‘Clearing’ was the Number 1 Apple Store search term with The Telegraph Clearing app the top result
  • #2 in the Apple Store Education chart, second only to iTunes U itself
  • #16 in Apple’s overall free app chart on
  • Featured as ‘Hot This Week’ by Apple
  • 100% service availability and smooth app performance throughout all the critical moments such as the morning peak as students receive their results

Great design and a more engaging experience

This year, we transformed the app’s user experience. We wanted more effective and useful visits with less sense of panic.

Users could build up their own profile by answering simple questions such as ‘courses applied for’. This encouraged them to think about their options early on and laid foundations for a more intelligent search once results and course data were released.

Although still the main draw, this year’s app had more to offer than just Clearing courses on A-level results day. Even before course data was available there was a useful set of institution profiles to explore including HESA stats such as student satisfaction, gender balance and cost of living.

These changes had the desired effect. Sessions were longer on average, with more than double the number of screen views, demonstrating the higher level of engagement achieved and the stronger commercial proposition for The Telegraph.

Sketches of the user journey process for the app
Screenshot of The Telegraph Clearing app

Expert support on A-level results day

The 24 hours surrounding the release of A-level results are a tense time. Clarity and reliability are key for young people about to end weeks of waiting to find out their future.

Our 2016 release of The Telegraph Clearing app was built on years of experience providing high traffic event support at the critical moment. We designed an app which encouraged pre-planning to reduce stress both for students and for the technology. The data suggests this softened the usual extreme spikes in traffic demand which were previously the norm.

Whilst we had more traffic overall, the calmer behaviour on the app led to a smoother arrival and departure of users than in previous years.

As we couldn’t know with certainty what the shape of demand might be in advance we were prepared for anything. The whole team engaged in game planning and in stress testing the technologies and likely scenarios well in advance of the big day. This allowed us to define the key metrics and produce a reliable scalable hosting solution.

A great Human story

The Telegraph Clearing app is a hugely important product with the power to change lives at the critical moment. Downloaded earlier in the week as expectant students fear the worst. Used on the day to mend shattered dreams before being ceremoniously deleted afterwards as a sign of victory.

The whole team at Human are immensely proud to have delivered The Telegraph Clearing app in its most successful year yet.

Designer sketching out app layout
Sketches detailing the app's layout and functionality
Screenshot of app displaying university information
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The Project Team

  • Martin Hicks portrait photograph
    Developer & Product Owner
    Martin Hicks
  • Sally Evans portrait photograph
    Designer
    Sally Evans
  • Kim Farral portrait photograph
    Designer
    Kim Farrall
  • Matt Chadwick portrait photograph
    Developer
    Matt Chadwick
  • Tom Yates portrait photograph
    Developer
    Tom Yates
  • James Galley portrait photograph
    Support
    James Galley
  • Sam Nelson portrait photograph
    Support
    Sam Nelson
  • Dan Wainwright portrait photograph
    Support
    Dan Wainwright