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Phil Buckley

Digital Transformation Manager

Part of Digital Diplomacy

11th November 2014 London, UK

Further adventures testing the Chevening application system

‘You have changed this!’
‘You have changed this!’

Some beautiful photos from the latest round of Chevening user testing, and what we learned from the latest cohort of scholars

On Saturday 25 October, the latest cohort of Chevening scholars were invited to an orientation event: a day’s activities welcoming them to the UK and helping them settle in.

At the end of the day they were invited inside the Foreign Office’s Durbar Court where Julia from the Chevening Secretariat and I took the opportunity to grab several of them and follow up on the first round of testing the Chevening scholarship application system.

Here’s a photo gallery of us testing – click on a photo if you want to see a larger version:

Lessons from the latest round of Chevening user testing

These scholars were the last to apply using the old Chevening application system, and the old system was fresh in their minds: many were surprised that they could apply on their mobile phones now (ALL candidates we tested with had their own smartphones).

As the Chevening site has been through a few rounds of user testing and iteration, many of the places where earlier testers struggled have been improved, and tablet users in particular were shooting through the system. However, there were a few small problems for mobile users which we have added to our backlog.

For me, the most striking part of the testing was students again saying the form should not be too easy: they were rightly proud of the high standard a Chevening award represents. Arenze from Nigeria skipped 5 screens to go straight to where you are invited to enter a personal statement. This had major changes from the old version and he took a moment to digest it.

You have changed this! It used to be one box of 500 words, and now it is 2 boxes of 300 words. This makes it easier to fill in. But I was so proud of my personal statement! It started enormous, and I cut it, and butchered it, and I drafted it, and eventually it was 500 words and very focused.

I reported this to Julia, and unfortunately it appears that he was not typical: the Secretariat split the statement up to try to make applications more focussed. We’ll be keeping an eye on the statements which come in this round.

If you would like to see more of the day, do have a look at this video of the Chevening orientation event. Let us know any thoughts you have, and the very best of luck to anyone still thinking of applying: the deadline is November 15!

‘You have changed this!’
‘You have changed this!’

Follow Phil on Twitter: @philbuckley5