Coleg Cambria needed help bringing their WordPress website up to date and they needed some ongoing issues with their website fixed. The back-end had become messy so staff members were struggling to make changes to the site, resulting in wasted time and delays in key information being made public.
The website design had a number of issues too. The navigation made it difficult for various visitors including students, employers and staff members to find what they were looking for and key goals such as downloads of course brochures were performing badly.
Improving the CMS
My first task was to audit the back-end of the website to and make changes to the content management system so that it would be easier for staff members to update the website themselves in the future.
I spoke to staff members from various departments and learnt how the website worked and how it connected to various other systems used by the college.
I then spent weeks improving the content managment system and optimising the website. I fixed bugs, increased the website speed and made it easy for staff members to update the website themselves.
Exploring a Full Redesign
Coleg Cambria intended on doing a full website redesign in the future and asked me to help with the research phase so that they could discover how the website should be improved and what the design could look like.
I carried out some competitor analysis, created personas, set up forms to ask for website feedback, set up a card sorting exercise and prepared surveys for staff, employers and students. Along with the information I had from Google Analytics I had plenty of ideas on how to improve the website.
Some of the issues discovered were: a complicated menu, blocks on the homepage that were unimportant and cluttered the page, the hero slider not displaying well on mobile devices, sections that were considered to be important not being easily accessible and a poor experience when searching for courses.
Below, you can see my homepage concept which aimed to solve these issues. The layout is clearer, the navigation has been simplified, the slider has been simplified, key sections such as facilities and apprenticeships have been highlighted and unimportant blocks of content have been removed.
Coleg Cambria used this exercise to narrow down their vision for the website and inform decisions on future design and development.
Microsite Design & Development
Coleg Cambria had a number of key sections belonging to various departments that they wanted to highlight. The current sections for these departments on the website were out of date and they were performing poorly. New microsites were requested so that each of these parts of the website could have their own unique style and the content could be kept up to date easily.
I created a number microsites and worked with the heads of various departments to make sure each microsite was in keeping with various branding requirements of that department. The microsites I created were simple and easy to maintain. They each had a positive impact on visitor engagement too. The microsites resulted in far more brochure downloads and enquiries.
An Interesting & Varied Project
It was great working with Coleg Cambria and I enjoyed getting the chance to use a wide range of skills that had an impact of thousands of users on a daily basis. I was able to make many improvements to both the front-end and back-end of the website over the one and a half years I worked with the college.