Design and content principles for the new Kent website

User-focussed content: simpler, clearer, less

Our new website design showcases quality content. Its content aims to meet user needs and further the University’s Strategic Plan.

The new design makes a statement that we’re a unified, confident research and teaching institution.

Design principles

  • Present Kent as a leading university with a design that strengthens our brand identity.
  • A focus on quality content (less quantity, better quality, user-led).

Website design trends have moved on a lot since our last redesign in 2010.

Our new design:

  • sets us up for the future
  • keeps us competitive
  • strengthens our brand
  • adapts to a multi-device, multi-context world
  • improves the user-experience with a clean design and content prioritisation.
  • is easier to manage: with a simpler, content-focused publishing tool.

Visual language

We support our brand identity with a simple, light design aesthetic which emphasises:

  • space
  • bold, high quality imagery
  • clear typography
  • plain English
  • and simple, content-rich layouts.

Content principles

Our user-centred design process helps us to create content relevant to our users based on these principles. Your content should meet a real audience need. It should be relevant, clear, concise, and focussed on their needs.

Focus on user needs

Understanding what our users need is at the heart of creating effective content. Here are some of the many ways you can learn more about what your users’ need:

  • web analytics: review how your web pages are currently used. Contact us if you don’t already have access to Google Analytics (or to ask for advice using it)
  • use User Experience (UX) techniques such as interviews, paper prototyping and user testing
  • see how they do it elsewhere: take time to look at how other organisations present similar content.

Aim for quality

Focus your energy and time on optimising the content your users need the most. This is much more effective than spending time publishing lots of content on a variety of topics, some of which won’t be heavily accessed.

Most websites fail to be great when they:

  • spread their editorial energy too thin (this leads to out of date content remaining live)
  • present too much content, making their pages over complex.

Inspire

Your content should reflect the fact that we’re an innovative and confident institution.

Resources wherever you are

Mobile first: don’t presume your users are looking at a large screen. It’s more likely they’re using a tablet or phone. Write and design for multi-screens and devices.

Inclusive design

Your content should be open, accessible and culturally engaging to all. Be audience-led and use plain English, and you can’t go far wrong.

We follow the recommended government standard for accessible web content (WCAG 2.0 AA).

Maintainable

Don’t produce more content than you can manage. All your content should be checked annually. Your ‘estate’ needs to be maintainable.

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