Nottingham College

Formerly Central College, Nottingham College is the largest further education institution in Nottinghamshire, and is well known for the excellent support and care offered to their students. Their website was confusing and frustrating to use and wasn’t reflecting their values, so they asked Kind for help.

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  • Education
  • User-centred design
  • Craft CMS
  • Strategy
  • Mobile-first design
  • Development
Chris Pavey, Senior Digital Marketing Officer

Kind have helped us to properly understand our objectives as an organisation and how we might achieve those using digital. They’re doing a great job for us so far.

The Challenge

We were brought on board as digital partners and tasked with helping them to realign their digital strategy before carrying out a mobile-first redesign of their website.

Central’s team were spending a lot of their time keeping the content of their website in-line with their internal course database and copying information submitted through online forms into their CRM system, so it was critical that we created a more joined-up experience for everybody.

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Strategic Thinking

Audience

Central needed to appropriately communicate with local and international students, parents and business partners while maintaining the same brand values. Placing a greater emphasis on the tone-of-voice used for each audience allows us to maintain a consistent visual style while clearly segregating content by audience.

Content

During our IA and UX workshops we found that the sheer volume of content that Central presented on it’s website was confusing to users. To combat this we looked into ways of improving on standard search functionality and segmenting content into ‘hubs’ based on target audience segments.

Mobile

The largest audience served by Central is 16 to 18 year-olds leaving school and looking into further education. Our research confirmed our feeling that this audience were primarily using the internet on their smartphones and so a mobile-first approach to building the Central website would be essential.

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Delivery

Lightning-fast search

In order for content to be quickly and easily found we gave more prominence to the search feature, especially on the study landing page. We then used Algolia and the Search Plus plugin to make that search lightning-fast and to bring in first-rate filtering using highly detailed metadata on each page, course and subject area.

A fully integrated website, not just a shop window

We created a number of bespoke plugin integrations which allowed us to fully integrate the Central website with their CRM system (MS Dynamics), their marketing automation platform (Dotmailer) and their course database. The outcome is a system that automatically ties together behaviour across platforms, providing a joined-up picture of the effectiveness of Central’s promotion activity with different cohorts of users.

A joyous content editing experience

Craft is the best content management system we’ve ever used, the content is separated entirely from the design of the website meaning that the college could begin entering content early on in the project process. Built-in live preview and visioning also meant that content editors could see exactly what effect the changes they were making had and, even if they inadvertently saved something that was broken, they could easily rollback to how it was before.

Advanced analysis through Hotjar

We do research and user testing but nothing can be as in-depth as actually watching real users interact with what we have built. Using a simple Javascript tracking code we can see heatmaps of activity and video playback of website use for every user with Javascript turned on (usually around 99%).

This data combined with Google Analytics, helps us to continue to make improvements as the project progresses.

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