Project Update - Working with University of Nottingham

The prerequisite to any website redevelopment is a rigorous research stage to identify who uses your site, what their needs are, and how you can tailor your site’s content and layout to suit your users. User-focused research such as this will deliver a website that is truly bespoke in design, successfully engages your target audiences and delivers dramatic ROI.

I am currently involved in just such a project for the International Office of the University of Nottingham who not only offer support to their existing overseas students, staff and visitors, but are also responsible for the recruitment of students from around 150 countries.

Their team is made up of around 40 staff with offices located worldwide in Brazil, China, Ghana, Malaysia, Mexico and India. They came to IE looking for insight into their audiences and for support and guidance on refreshing their website – the goal being to attract more international students as well as supporting them better once they had accepted a place.

Before re-designing the user experience it was clear that we had to help the university better understand their overseas web audiences inside out – their needs and their expectations. We therefore suggested starting the project with a listening exercise, followed by detailed analysis of what we heard. The results of this would ultimately drive the re-design – understanding that any changes we suggested would need to be in line with the University’s existing brand.

I carried out interviews with International Office staff (in both the UK and abroad), overseas agents, existing overseas students (at different stages of their studies and from different schools) and lastly, potential overseas students from Thailand to Turkey and Pakistan to Peru.

All in all I interviewed over 30 people and got amazingly varied answers. Whilst the majority of potential students felt information on, for example, entry requirements or fees and scholarships, were of key importance, there were others who were more motivated by things like “does the university have a Quidditch team?”, or “will I offend other students if I walk around barefoot?”

I also analysed their current website using various online tools available to us, including an online questionnaire for all overseas visitors and I carried out a comprehensive analysis of competitor websites.

Combining all our findings from the research stage we are now entering the design stage so I am creating a revised site structure, wireframes and user stories, all of which will be presented to the University in the next couple of weeks, along with some storyboards that our award winning design team are working on.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you to identify the themes of your website redesign and ensure that your new website is truly bespoke to your audiences please do get in touch with me – I would welcome the opportunity to chat to you about the challenges you currently face!

IE Digital led us through a clear, streamlined process to enable all stakeholders to develop and adhere to success criteria, with clear outputs to help support buy-in.

International Recruitment Team
University of Nottingham