Web design & system integration for Oxford University department
The University of Oxford’s Department of Physics aspires to be a leader in their field – with cutting edge research and advanced experimental techniques to investigate nature at every scale. They needed a fresh, modern website that catered for their very diverse audience and provided a new range of functionality to meet their current requirements.
Fully integrating the website with existing systems has simplified and streamlined processes.
Simple navigation and a well-designed structure have led to an enhanced user experience.
Updated branding creates consistency and appeals to key stakeholders.
The department had a web presence, but it wasn’t centrally managed. The main website was built and maintained by the central IT team, while other areas of the site were managed by individuals around the department. This led to inconsistencies and, often, these areas of the website had a completely different look and feel.
Generally, the website was outdated and did not live up to the prestigious reputation of the department.
The new website needed to be easy to update, but also provide a level of control to help enforce consistency across the website.
The website needed to serve and appeal to several stakeholder groups – from administrators, faculty, students and support staff to job applicants, donors and the general public. The ability to control access to different information was required for the various stakeholder groups, as well as new functionality that would help administrators manage the website more effectively.
Finally, they needed a platform that would allow them to receive queries and applications for a variety of roles being promoted on the website.
The new website is now in keeping with the department’s brand. By building the website using a content management system, the team now has a framework within which all users work. This helps create a consistent look and feel across the website – from headings and fonts to colours and page layouts. This means that anyone in the department creating the pages will add content that is in keeping with the new web design, making it feel like one, seamless website.
Customised content management system
In addition to the content management system helping to create a consistent look and feel across the website, it also makes managing the website much easier.
Usability was a key factor, so we paid particular attention to how the system would work since a large number of untrained users would be using it. The tools built into the CMS helped with this, but we also added, customised or developed new plugins for additional functionality when there was nothing available to fulfil the need.
Our Oxford-based development team integrated the system with the departments Active Directory, ensuring that users log-in details are saved, and the information is stored safely. Rather than rewriting all of their legacy ASP and ASP.NET systems at once, we re-skinned them to match the new site and ran them in parallel until they were replaced.
The department now has a fresh new, integrated website that provides a far superior user experience for those using it. The website engages their key stakeholders and provides a seamless user experience and easy navigation for web visitors and administrators alike.