3D render of an iPhone with the CAO Handbook on display

Helping over 10,000 students create a personalised course shortlist

Students can now create a personalised shortlist of courses from every Irish university. All thanks to Prospectus Plus.

The CAO Logo

The Central Applications Office (CAO), the organization responsible for processing applications for undergraduate courses at Irish Higher Education Institutions, was in search of a digital prospectus solution that would make their handbook more accessible on mobile devices.

Through their research, they discovered Prospectus Plus and we were able to assist them in creating a optimised, accessible digital prospectus. This digital prospectus, also known as the CAO Handbook, helps prospective students find the right course and guides them through the application process. In the past, the handbook was a printed document distributed across Ireland, with approximately 104,000 copies printed annually – an impressive 10,400,000 pages.

Prospectus Plus offers a digital-first alternative to our printed Handbook, with high levels of engagement and the ability to easily track and measure usage.
The user experience is excellent, with a sleek and intuitive interface that makes it easy to navigate and find relevant information. The digital format also allows for interactive elements and multimedia content, which really helps to keep users engaged and interested in the material.

Overall, I found Prospectus Plus to be a modern, environmentally-friendly way to share important information with our audience.

Eileen Keleghan
Head of Communications
Central Applications Office

The Sustainable Alternative to Print

The Central Applications Office (CAO) recognised the need for a more accessible and user-friendly digital prospectus solution for their handbook. In the previous year, they had reduced their print run from 104,000 to 10,000 copies and introduced a digital version of the handbook to complement the remaining printed books.

However, the digital version of the handbook was a problematic flippy PDF that was not optimised for mobile devices and inaccessible for users. The CAO was in search of a new digital prospectus solution to address these issues and improve the user experience for prospective students.

Personalisation in the Application Process

Prospective Irish students can now use the digital version of the Handbook, not only to find out how to apply, but also to find out where to apply. Prospectus+ has personalisation at its core. By asking prospects questions about their interests and desirable location, it presents a list of applicable courses for them to shortlist from. Using our magical content sync, we were able to connect to their internal systems and synchronise course listings, which link out to institutional course pages for full details.

Users can register to save a permanent copy of their personalised copy, and share it with their influencers.

3D render of an iPhone displaying the CAO Handbook login page

One major challenge faced by the Central Applications Office (CAO) was providing an accessible and user-friendly digital prospectus solution for the handbook, which is a crucial resource used by careers advisors working with prospective students in classroom settings. Traditionally, each prospect was issued a copy of the handbook, and advisors would guide them through it, directing them to key sections and pages.

However, using the incumbent flippy PDF proved to be problematic, especially on mobile devices, with scrolling and zooming to find information causing frustration for both users and advisors. To solve this challenge, we introduced a new card style with content links. This feature allows careers advisors to point to specific content in the printed version of the handbook and users to easily find the same content in the digital prospectus.

Three boxes, rising to the left, each containing a statistic about the CAO Handbook usage
3D render of an iPhone with the Prospectus Plus course selector on display

The results

Traditionally, the handbook has been difficult to track. Once distributed it is almost impossible to understand how users engage with the book, if at all. Prospectus Plus has opened up a world of new insight to help the CAO continue evolving their handbook and measuring its success.

The new handbook was launched at the beginning of September 2022 and within two months the handbook has seen usage from over 16,500 users. Over 60% of those visitors have taken the time to personalise and save their prospectus. And over 450 users have shared their prospectus.

For the 32 universities that we promoted, we generated over 15,000 leads!