Building a unified user experience online for the AFTP
IE Digital designed and built a new website for the AFTP, to support the brand's launch and bring together disparate processes from across several university delivery partners. The website and online application form are backed by a CRM database and automated email service, to streamline course applications and administration.
The AgriFood Training Partnership – AFTP – launched this week and boasts a new website cultivated by the team at IE Digital.
The new education initiative for the agrifood sector brings together six core partners from the universities of Reading, Nottingham, Aberystwyth, Harper Adams, Cranfield and Bangor and combines what was previously three Advanced Training Partnerships (ATPs) into one. Together they provide specialist education and training to the agrifood industry.
A seamless user experience for applicants
The key challenge for the merged organisation was to create a unified digital user experience for participants – while searching for a training course, during the application process, and through to course completion. With the ATPs, the process had been confusing, shifting back and forth between the ATPs' and the universities' disparate systems. This disjointed user experience needed improvement if the AFTP was to gain a reputation for being the go-to place for agrifood training.
IE Digital’s job was to simplify the whole process and make it consistent for applicants and participants, irrespective of their chosen course or the university delivering the training. Our aim was to minimise drop-out rates during the application process, simplify administration for the AFTP and universities, and give them better control over their data. However, the system still needed the flexibility to accommodate differences in the various systems and keep the architecture loose enough to allow for future growth.
Following stakeholder consultation across all the key partners, IE's digital consultants arrived at a workable solution to the problem, based on multiple systems, closely integrated. The website hosts a central, searchable database of all the AFTP's accredited courses, as well as the new application form. The form integrates with a new CRM database, which is also used to power a programme of automated emails. These triggered emails manage participants and course administrators through the application and on-boarding process. Look out for more of the technical details in a forthcoming deep-dive case study.
Visualising AgriFood as a brand
The AFTP provides a bridge between the agrifood industry and academic excellence. It was clear from IE's research that this proximity to industry was important to participants, so the brand had to be rooted in the world of agrifood, rather than looking like an "education" brand. Naturally, the stamp of academic quality provided by the universities delivering the training still had a part to play, and these partnerships remain prominent within the brand.
For the website development project... IE stood out head and shoulders above the competition in their commitment to ‘get it right’ in tackling the challenges we threw at them and produce the visually appealing but technically sophisticated site, application and CRM system we were looking for. Given a very tight timescale IE have been able to deliver a website that provides us with the features and functionality we were looking for. This part of the project isn’t complete yet and there are still some challenges to be overcome. I am confident that the development team working with our staff can produce the outcomes we need for the final handover. For us, a project of this scale was daunting but with IE’s creativity combined with strong project management skills, I believe we have produced an excellent start to the project that will help us attract the participants we need to make the AFTP a success.Deborah Kendale
Business Development and Marketing Manager, University of Nottingham