Morley Radio asked IE Digital to design a modern WordPress website, to host and promote its on-demand and live-streaming content.
Morley Radio is the community radio station for Morley College London – one of the UK’s leading centres for adult education, best known for its courses in music and the visual arts. The station is central to the College’s vision of inspiring ambitions and creating outstanding learning opportunities.
Students on any course can get involved by collaborating to create live shows or podcasts in the College's state-of-the-art studios. The website allows users to listen to the eclectic selection of music, talk, and drama they create.
When IE landed, Morley College London had ambitious plans to create Morley Radio.
They were in the process of building two professional-standard radio studios at the heart of the college, partly funded with a grant from the Mayor of London’s ‘Skills for Londoners Capital Fund’. Their aim was to create a community radio station for the College that would educate, inform and provide a creative outlet for students and staff.
The student body at Morley is wide and varied, with ages from 18 to 85. Study varies from beginner-level evening courses like Bollywood dancing, English for Speakers of Other Languages, or ceramics, through to Bachelors’ Degrees in music or fashion. Whatever the course, the radio station is an invaluable resource for tutors to develop a wide range of course materials and class activities involving the use of the studios. Students might create a show as part of their course, either to share what they have learned, demonstrate skills in a new language, promote their exhibitions or review other works.
IE’s Digital Consultant and Project Manager led a kick-off meeting with Morley Radio to clearly define the project scope and agree a set of success criteria for the website.
This was followed by a “light touch” UX exercise to agree and prioritise the site’s users and understand their needs. Students were expected to make up the majority of listeners to Morley Radio, but the importance of college staff to the success of the project could not be underestimated. We needed to create a movement of people excited to create their own shows and incorporate audio into their teaching.
The site’s secondary audiences include people in the community wanting to advertise or create their own content, partners such as the local business improvement district (BID), and parents/friends of those involved.
We agreed a simple information architecture based on the most common user journeys through the site, to form the basic site structure.
We also took the Morley team through a ‘web trends’ exercise to identify the current trends in website design and user experience that were most appropriate to steer the website design for Morley Radio. We agreed a design direction based around a flat, building blocks-style site, along with the use of prominent photography.
Based on our agreed success criteria, information architecture and design direction, IE’s digital designers set to work to create a new Morley Radio logo and a visual design theme for the new website, based on a set of simple wireframes.
Although we drew on the parent Morley College brand and its vibrant colour palette, it was important for the website to feel like a radio station, not a college. Media apps like Spotify and Netflix provided inspiration, and the visual identity was designed to excite, intrigue, and engage Morley’s audiences.
We then built a rich, modern and highly polished WordPress template to incorporate programme listings, podcasts, session booking forms, a blog, and the all-important media player.
We incorporated subtle background animation to provide movement, and reflect the way the radio station is enabling collaboration and building networks between the College and the community.
The resulting site can host a wealth of content and delivers a strong visual impact and a slick user experience.
IE continues to support the Morley Radio website with additional development on an ad hoc basis.