University College of Osteopathy

Photography commissioned as part of the rebrand – Students from the University College of Osteopathy walking along the street in London, with the Shard behind them
University College of Osteopathy
Drupal Website
User Experience
Visual identity
Other healthcare
Universities and HE

IE Digital designed and developed two new Drupal websites for the newly renamed University College of Osteopathy and its Clinic.

In its centenary year, the former British School of Osteopathy had been awarded Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) to become the only degree-awarding osteopathic institution in Europe. With a new name, brand and visual identity – created by IE Brand – the UCO also needed an improved web presence, accessible on all devices and addressing the unique needs of the University College audience, as well as patients of their osteopathic clinic.

Visit the University College of Osteopathy website

Visit the UCO Clinic website

User research

Having appointed IE Brand to deliver a full rebrand, the University College of Osteopathy selected IE Digital to take on a complete overhaul of their website too, which had become very dated.

We asked the UCO’s internal and external audiences how they felt about the existing online presence, as part of the the wider stakeholder engagement and research for the rebrand. This gave IE’s digital consultants a clear insight into the various user journeys and the improvements needed.

We heard loud and clear that the new site should feature the voice of the students – showing what life at UCO is like through testimonials, photography and video. There was also a clear desire for the new site to be light and clear, and give a 'big picture' view of the University College. 

UCO messaging matrix
UCO system design diagram
We are very proud of our rich history and reputation, but are also keen to look to the future and pursue opportunities to develop, improve and to drive the profession forward, and we believe a fresh, new identity as the University College of Osteopathy will help us to do that. IE has led us expertly through a significant rebranding project, engaging with key stakeholders and ensuring buy-in at every stage. We’re delighted with our new visual identity and how IE has brought it to life online.
Charles Hunt, Vice Chancellor
UCO homepage shown on mobile phone screen, held in a hand
An open laptop on a desk, showing the homepage of the University College of Osteopathy website.
Content structure across two websites

The UCO’s osteopathy clinic is the UK’s largest. It offers an excellent, real-world training environment for student osteopaths and was seen as a real selling point of the University College.

However, our research told us that the University College was less of a selling point for patients of the clinic. The existing website featured the clinic as a subsection – almost an afterthought – and clinic patients felt confused and under-served.

IE Digital ran content structure workshops to tackle the University College and Clinic sites separately, using the library metaphor – books, chapters and pages – to structure the content needed for each.

During this session it became clear that the clinic website wasn’t a small ‘add-on’ site, but was a distinct and significant website project in its own right.

So our first recommendation was to split the two websites, resulting in separate wireframes and visual designs for each and a user experience tailored to the very different user journeys of students and patients. This meant that the project budget needed to grow accordingly, but the client understood the necessity and happily gave the green light.

UCO Clinic homepage shown on laptop screen
User experience and information architecture

We took a mobile-first approach, and defined an intuitive user experience (UX) and information architecture (IA) for both websites.

The University College website focused primarily on the user journey of a prospective student, sharing the benefits of choosing the UCO to study, course details, and information on what life could be like as a professional osteopath.

Meanwhile, the Clinic website communicates clear messaging on its pricing, convenient opening times and location, with clear calls to action to book an appointment.

Both sites were built in Drupal 7 and were fully optimised for mobile. They showed off the new UCO visual identity and photographic assets created by IE Brand, as well as a launch video to explain the rebrand and celebrate the UCO’s centenary.

Three phone screens showing the UCO website mobile experience.
Interim site re-skin and UX

Naturally the BSO wanted to launch their new name, brand and websites simultaneously for the biggest impact and to celebrate their University College status.

Unfortunately they were left in limbo for several months while they awaited final approval from the Privy Council to adopt the new name. So what do you do when you have a beautiful new brand and web sites you can’t use, but you need to boost student recruitment NOW?

The existing website wasn’t delivering, and rolling out the new one under the old name and logo would spoil the ‘big reveal’. So to bridge the gap, IE gave the existing website a quick UX overhaul to improve the user journey, promote clearer calls to action and drive up course applications. This was enough to tide the BSO over until they were ready to unveil their new brand and web presence.

September 2017 was the eventual launch date for the new University College of Osteopathy. IE Digital provided go-live support for the switchover to the new websites and we’re now providing ongoing hosting, support and maintenance services for both sites.

UCO website on laptop screen showing the 'Life at UCO' page layout
UCO website on laptop screen showing the 'Courses' page layout