St Helens College offers a variety of courses to students from age 14, as well as school leavers and adults. It motivates students to achieve excellence through education and training. Also, the organization has strong ties with the local community and businesses, which helps its students to find job and internship opportunities.
“Accessible, user-friendly and easy-to-use.”
- Samantha Ashton, Web Manager at St Helens College
With its target audience varying from teenagers and their parents to adults seeking to further their education, St Helens College prospectuses and help guides steadily grow in size. They used to produce documents in print and as PDFs, but most of their students were accessing the prospectuses on mobile devices. So were St Helens College publications comfortable for viewing and up-to-date?
The problem with PDFs was that loading them ate up a lot of data and was time-consuming as well. Plus, the whole experience wasn’t visually engaging. St Helens College found itself in need of a professional tool to present publications online.
“Now that our prospectuses are getting bigger and bigger, one of the issues was the size of publications accessed on a mobile phone. Downloading documents would just absolutely destroy the data allowance that the students got for their mobile Internet. The size of the publications would’ve just taken a lot of data to download.”
Another issue was printing costs. St Helens College used to mail out printed prospectuses without knowing how many people actually read them and how many would’ve preferred an online format. With two pounds a publication, it wasn’t a minor expense.
Search for Solution
St Helens College’s research showed that their publications were mostly viewed on the website via smartphones or tablets. Being always on the go, their students needed a quick way to get updates and new information: loading and viewing had to be fast and convenient. Also, the publications couldn’t be too heavy.
“As we know, students’ data in some cases may not be very big, and the size of our latest prospectus was bigger than the ones in the previous years. We took the decision to find a way of displaying the prospectus on our website that wouldn’t use the users’ data.”
To provide their students with a comfortable viewing experience, St Helens College needed a more efficient tool than simple PDFs. Plus, they wanted to embed large prospectuses on their website. St Helens College tried out a few digital publishing tools, including Issuu and flipgorilla, but felt that FlippingBook served their needs best. The software allowed them to control what a publication looked like and how many pages it had. Moreover, St Helens College could now host prospectuses on their own server, which was beneficial.
“A lot of other tools, we found, were limited to page numbers or size of files. We needed something that we could control a lot more. FlippingBook gave us control over the publication. Plus, we could put it on our web server. That also was a benefit.”
St Helens College values how mobile-friendly FlippingBook Publisher is. Now current and prospective students can access the prospectuses in just one click on any device. Whether on the way home, in between classes or at a café -- readers can always view a prospectus on their mobile and quickly find the information they need. Online documents don’t take up a lot of data or time to load, which makes the viewer experience a lot more pleasant and easy.
“Having FlippingBook means that students can access a prospectus and look at it, and they don’t have to download it directly to the phone. So they can save the data from doing that.”
To make sure they reach out to all of their students, parents, and community members, the marketing team at St Helens College offers various options to read their prospectuses and guides. Students can view a digital flip book, download a PDF, or request a postal copy. With simple Google Analytics integration in FlippingBook, it’s easy to see how many people prefer online publications to printouts, which saves costs and shows the product value.
“We use Google Analytics mostly to know how many people are accessing publications via the website rather than by requesting a postal copy. This way, we can set a value against it. For example, our prospectus costs two pounds. So if we know that a hundred people downloaded it, then we know what amount of money we roughly save by not having to print it out.”
All of St Helens College online publications, be it a School Leaver Prospectus or an Adult Course Guide, have their own audience. FlippingBook allows the marketing team to track viewer interaction with each online document and see how much value they actually get from embedding the prospectuses into their website.
“We create an individual tracking code for the individual prospectuses. So they’re not all coming through one tracking code, but through a number of tracking codes instead, and we can identify them individually.”
St Helens College makes sure they create documents that are easy to access and read. The publications vary from 4-page leaflets to 230-page prospectuses, so accessibility is key. Digitizing their documents has improved the overall viewer experience for their readers, whether they use desktops or mobile devices.
“Overall, we have five prospectuses. We also have things like our Apprenticeship Guides, which are just little books on the side. And we are basically in the process of converting them all over to FlippingBook to make them all accessible on mobile and easy to read.”
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