We approached this project as a rework from the ground up and collated valuable information from teachers, pupils and parent by focus-groups to take a deeper look at underlying issues that they faced previously when using the website. Almost all cases were related to the outdated style of the site and how it no longer reflected St Michael’s school or college. We agreed. It was a sentiment that we ourselves had felt and wanted to tackle with the implantation of a new website. Our discovery included positive points regarding the website and a forum for people to suggest what they would like to see on the website – all which were down to St Michaels to make a decision on. Ofsted compliance Ofsted have shifted a lot of their attention to school websites and what should be published on the website as per gov.uk’s guidelines. We paid very close attention to this ensuring that St Michaels had the facilities via the admin panel to clearly display the documents as required. Here is a comprehensive list of what needs to be displayed: [link to our blog article (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/what-maintained-schools- must-publish-online)].
From our user research sessions with the St Michaels community, we had a definitive list of features that they wanted on the website. The features were very useful and effectively made the website a one-stop-shop for all kinds of content. For instance, St Michaels operate an in-house points system where form groups collect points from various activities and reward teams accordingly. We made this accessible by developing a feature within the platform that allowed students to view their teams scores amongst other information. We also built a mechanism that, albeit manually as there’s no API available, displays the Progress 8 Scores of the school.
Content that flows
Academic websites contain a lot of information based content and therefore can be text heavy. Text heavy websites tend to be messy with improper page structures. We invested a great a of effort looking in to the sitemap and architectural build of the website. As a result: – users can find information quickly through titles and category-based grouping, – discoverability is much improved. Visitors are shown links that relate to current content that they might not have known about
A website that looks good
Just as much effort that was put into research has gone in to design. Although we focus solely on research and user experience first, if that’s done right, the end result of the website is a positive one. The website itself will visually reflect what’s underneath the hood so to speak.