The “Advice Guide” is an online database that will help make educational advice more visible and tangible for users throughout Austria. CONEDU, the Association for Educational Research and Media, implements the guide in cooperation with the national networks of the educational counseling Austria.
Educational counseling offers as an “opportunity for everyone” should be perceived more strongly
The declared aim is to increase awareness of educational counseling in Austria in the target groups. The advice guide addresses questions and motives relating to education and work that users find themselves in. It is intended to provide orientation and provide relevant information in order to accompany users on their way to the right advice service near their home. The advice guide is intended to inspire, inform and motivate you to seek advice from the experts on site after doing your online research.
The first insights
As part of a meeting of the Education Advisory Service Austria, the developers gave first insights into the concrete implementation. It turned out that the content and design of the homepage are already prepared in such a way that users’ attention and interest in the topic of educational counseling are to be increased: A testimonial story and brief initial information enable quick orientation. This should motivate and convince users that educational counseling can also help you to clarify open vocational and educational issues. Once this level has been reached, the information continues in greater depth. Concrete information, facts and contacts for suitable advisory services are displayed in the database. In this way, users are accompanied step by step through the research in order to finally make direct contact with the respective advice center.
The target group in view with transdisciplinary methodology
Many gears had to mesh with one another from the daring project order to the concrete concept paper. A research of specialist literature and reference projects was followed by twelve guided interviews with experts to ascertain needs and benefits in practice.
In order not to lose sight of the objectives in the implementation phase, a comprehensive text and image concept was created as a “compass”. The primary credo of the advice guide is target group-oriented communication. In order to implement this adequately, the developers used various tools and methods.
For example, the so-called personas concept was used. A clear profile is created for each target group, which makes the needs, motives and wishes of the relevant target groups tangible. For the advice guide, it was possible to build on the preparatory work of the Austrian educational advice service. In advance, as part of a supraregional communication strategy, they had developed personas for educational counseling at home and made them available for the counseling guide.
With the help of a so-called user journey, the information needs of the users were taken into account and the user-friendliness checked. Users have different previous experiences on the subject of educational counseling and accordingly different needs for information. The advice guide takes these different levels of knowledge and interests into account and offers the right content in each case. In this way, users who come across the advice guide at the beginning of their research and without prior knowledge will find short, understandable content for initial orientation. Complexity, which would be overwhelming at this point, is avoided. But also for users with specific prior knowledge – for example through experience with educational counseling from the environment – the advice guide can be used through its offer database for further research.
Both methods – personas and user journey – were originally conceived in the area of software development, are now indispensable in marketing and sales and have been adapted for the implementation of the advice guide.
From the finished concept to implementation in four months
There are only four months between the concept release in mid-August and the planned go-live of the advice guide in mid-December. Those responsible for the national networks are currently working on feeding their offers into the database for the advice guide. Shortly before Christmas, it should then be available in the Bildungsinfo section on adult education.at. After the first introductory phase, adjustments and an expansion of the data content are planned for the new year. The “Advice Guide for Education and Work”, or advice guide for short, was commissioned as part of the ESF funding period 2019-2021. It is intended to bundle Austria-wide advisory services and make them visible to users in the form of a central database.