Website redesign, beginning alpha – more discovery and experimentation

So we’ve finished our discovery phase for the website redesign project. Well we thought we had finished.

And so begins the alpha phase.  It’s about experimentation, and let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy a bit of experimentation?

How do we communicate all this stuff?

We consolidated our discovery findings and created a presentation and a basic content strategy draft to help lead our discussions.

Beginning with more intimate and frank discussions with key stakeholders and we then slowly expanded our findings to other groups and teams.

Our strong message is that in order to deliver our vision of a website for the future, we need to have a central content strategy to support research and recruitment.

The reception has been very positive.

Initially titled “The Theme Project”, the project name is a misnomer – we don’t want to skin a website (pig/lipstick). Our discovery has resulted in more significant changes that are needed to deliver strategic, user-centred content.


A design workshop… then more discovery

There hasn’t been a neat separation between discovery and alpha phases, learning is ongoing. Discovery has lead to more discovery as we’ve began to understand the challenges in delivering user-centred content as the tenet of this project.

We had a mood board workshop which led us to discuss the shortcomings of our current brand imagery and the need for purposeful, quality imagery.

A strong visual design for a new website will rely on strong imagery (and video).

Our existing image guidelines and offerings need to be improved. How can we pool our expertise and be better coordinated to deliver quality imagery and guidelines with few resources?

A design workshop with colleagues from various departments began our first step in collaborating on design and creating a common understanding. This began us thinking about high-level approaches for design.


It was clear that we needed a better understanding of prospective students and camped in Enrollment Management Services for a couple of days to draw on their knowledge.

This resulted in:

  • refining our personas,
  • sketching user journeys,
  • creating a customer journey map and
  • creating a needs matrix.


We’ve also been learning more about research. This will be the foundation of our new Institutional Plan. Corporate Communications has helped us understand the University’s approach and aspirations – furthering our development as a world-leading research-led institution.

How can the new website support this ambition? How can we further our progress for REF 2020?

Content design, information architecture and principles

We’ve held some workshops to identify content types as part of a content model for the new website. This is also a way to help align the Web Publishing Model project (Dreamweaver replacement – yay!) with the UX design and content strategy.


The Web Publishing Model outcomes will have a strong impact on the website redesign and content strategy. We continue to work closely with Web Solutions who are leading this work.

We’ve also been busy writing up information architecture principles and design principles (based on our previous exploration of our visual language).

We’ll be setting up some design collaboration workshops with a selection of departments to help us gain a common understanding with our stakeholders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.