Digital Detox
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Central Application Board

From legacy system, to UX dream

We re-imagined the University applications process


  • Web

Our role

  • Strategy
  • Design
  • Development

See it live

The Central Applications Board (CAB) is a non profit organisation. They offer an online system for processing full time applications for the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

The system is used by Universities and Colleges who provide full time LPC and GDL courses in England and Wales. It is also accessed by Undergraduates and Graduates, with or without law degrees, and students with non standard qualifications.

The CAB website is the only route by which an applicant can apply for the full time LPC and GDL course.

The brief

Administration staff at CAB had a lot of manual processes in place when they approached us and managing the application process was onerous and labour intensive. The site was quite clunky and didn’t present a great user experience. Due to its age, it didn’t comply with GDPR regulations either - it was time for a change.

The CAB team were keen initially for us to do a 'lift and shift' of their current site. Often used when you're short on time and do not need to change the way things currently work, this would mean simply moving all functionality and processes to a new online environment.

At Digital Detox, we take great pride in creating online experiences that offer great accessibility and user experience.
Luiz, Senior Client Services Account Manager

Discovery phase

Kicking off with a discovery week meant we learnt some key facts:

  • The site was old and had been built using outdated technology with limited options

  • Many existing assumptions about user ability were false. We shouldn’t assume everyone shared the same level of online proficiency

  • There were loads of human workarounds in place to compensate for the shortfalls of the current system. We needed to automate more of the administration process

  • CAB had access to some incredibly useful and valuable data, but with potential to use this much more effectively

With this in mind, we realised that there were many opportunities for CAB to simplify and streamline their existing processes. Therefore, we felt strongly that the site would benefit from a complete re-build rather than a lift and shift. CAB agreed.

We re-framed the challenge from a lift and shift of the existing site to creating an entirely new website on a modern technology stack.

Future-proofing CAB

At Digital Detox, we know that data can unlock enormous potential if it’s used correctly. As we continued to learn more about the data and insight that the CAB staff and system had access to, we saw an even bigger opportunity.

We could help CAB completely transform their business through data and industry insight.

What if all this data could actually change how CAB were positioned and perceived in the industry? What if, rather than being a service provider, they could become a thought leader? We sat down with stakeholders and explained that they had a huge opportunity and with a more automated approach to storing data and insight, they’d have opportunities to extract and share their insight with the wider industry. In fact, if they focused on becoming a more insight-led business, they could become a dominant force.

The process of building a new site and unlocking their data potential could future-proof their business for many years to come. This could be their USP.

Time for action

Now it was time to turn our words into actions. We held workshops with CAB admins to agree on a new set of requirements for how the system should behave. We broke down all the requirements into smaller chunks and identified a few quick wins we could implement first.

We did try to replicate as much existing functionality as possible, whilst adding new requirements based on our conversations around data and insight. Having CAB working so closely alongside our team helped us make progress at speed.

The development process

We worked closely with CAB administrators to map out the requirements for the new site and focused on building out the high value/low effort requirements first. There was so much to do that we spent a lot of time working with CAB to find the right way to prioritise features and functionality.

There were many questions we had to ask throughout the whole process in order to ensure we captured requirements covering everything needed and identified any opportunities to improve current ways of working features.

Our focus areas

User experience (UX)

As specialists in UX, we designed the new CAB site to be simple, slick and fully responsive. We built a robust back-end system to turn information into something beautiful in the front-end. Users are presented with a system that’s easy to use, meaning fewer support requests for CAB as a result.


We created a new, automated process for capturing and storing the information. Now it can be accessed at any time and exported for reporting and sharing.

Site administration

We built an intuitive dashboard for CAB administrators to manage the site. Copy changes are a breeze, data is secure and the site can be managed by users at all levels of technical ability.

The result

The all new CAB site is now live and already helping CAB unlock new opportunities for their business. By automating many of their processes, administrators have more time to focus on using their information to position the business as a thought leader.

We didn’t achieve our original objective of a lift and shift – we achieved something even better. A brand new, modern, data-led site that provides a seamless user experience and intuitive back-end system. Job done.

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