Case study

The Sutton Trust

The Sutton Trust partnered with us to design and implement a front-end application system for students seeking to apply for the Pathways and UK Summer Schools programmes

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The Sutton Trust is a charity that aims to improve mobility through education. They achieve this through a combination of research, policy advocacy, and working directly with over 3,500 students a year.

They partner with 23 universities, who coordinate the delivery of programmes. The Sutton Trust provides central services, such as marketing, evaluation and targeting to support this delivery.


To design and implement a front-end application system integrated with Salesforce for students seeking to apply for the Pathways and UK Summer Schools programmes. The framework would be designed to ensure that it can be enhanced and re-used year after year


Using our Absolutely Interactive (AI) CMS solution, we built a responsive content managed application solution for all stages of the application linked to Salesforce. A architectural design choice ensure that no local data are retained by AI at all


We've had a great successes delivering Sutton Trust's first three annual programmes online and in 2022, we're now delivering a redesign and the fourth application system for new students

Key deliverables/features

The Sutton Trust set out a list of deliverables that would be key to the success of the new application site. These were:

  • Clear registration process allowing students to save progress
  • Multiple stage application form based on programme and course
  • Complex integration with Salesforce
  • Support system during application cycles

There was also a number of features that would need to be considered and implemented into the site during the design and build process. These were:

  • Giving CMS access to Sutton Trust staff to be able to make edits to the questions and help text in the application programmes
  • A postcode lookup service
  • Pre-populated/back-filled fields, taken from prior registrations
  • School and coourse look up functions, through the Salesforce API
  • Content-sensitive guidance is provided throughout the application process

Project Process

The project was broken down into the following phases:

An initial design process, involving the creation of interactive prototypes that were approved by The Sutton Trust prior to the build stage.

HTML Layouts
The production of flat HTML layouts for 'key' areas of the website to allow The Sutton Trust to see and experience page interaction

Template/CMS Build
The rebuild process involved creating new web form templates for each of the stages of the application process. All of the question and help text is content managed in AI

Salesforce Integration
Once the templates with all the questions complete for each stage of the application we could then add the code to integrate with Salesforce. We had to make sure that each field on the application was mapped to a pre-defined Salesforce field and rules guided how data were read and written. No permanent  data is retained by our client application

User Acceptance Testing
Once all the above was complete we undertook a thorough UAT stage, creating dozens of test accounts to check all questions and stages of the application's Salesforce integration

Our work with charities

We've created many other solutions for charities and non-profits:


Just wanted to update on the Pathways applications.

It's been a smooth launch and looks like everything is working as it should at our end.

The new site also looks great, so we're really pleased with the updates made!


Harry Thomason, Senior Programmes Officer
Sutton Trust