Sandwell College Website Design

Latest card based college website design is user friendly and mobile responsive.

The Challenge

Sandwell College is a large Further Education provider based in West Bromwich. They were looking for a new college website design  that would allow them to improve communications with prospective students, offer more flexibility and increase customer engagement. With a proven track record in student user experience and an in-depth knowledge of the sector, we were appointed to build the new website after a competitive pitch in October 2014.

The Solution

Work started on the new website in November 2014. We began by carefully planning the user journey to and through the site, ensuring the website delivered everything it needed to for the target audience.

The latest card-based design we used is perfect for mobile screens and responsive design, ensuring the website looks good and information is easily digestible whatever the screen size. For the 13-18 year old target age group, who spend large amounts of time online on their mobile devices, this design works especially well, allowing them to find and access all the information they need in a few swipes of the screen.

Chris Eardley, Lead Programmer on the website, explained: “We built the website in a new open source Content Management System, and moved it to a modern Dependency Managed framework incorporating Symfony2 components, along with modern asset management. This resulted in minified, compressed, efficient output code, which facilitates faster load times and higher SEO rankings, along with improved maintainability. The visual composer in the CMS allows for effortless data entry by the team at Sandwell, and with multiple permission levels and editorial rights, they can easily manage and control the website content.”

The new website features weighted relevance-based search for course pages, allowing students to easily find courses they might be interested in, straight from the homepage.

The new website also allows students to apply directly online, with comprehensive conditional forms – built from the control panel – to collect applications.

On the desktop version of the new website there is a dynamic video background, showing off many of the college’s features.

The Results

The new website went live in April 2015, and the bounce rate is down 60%, while time on page has doubled. Online enquiries are up by 80% and applications are running ahead of last year.

You can see the site here http://www.sandwell.ac.uk/

 

“We chose to work with Lesniak Swann because of the approach they took in responding to the brief – their user journey plans were well-researched and comprehensive. We were also impressed with the designs they presented. We now have a website that can continue to grow with the College, and reflects our forward-thinking approach to Further Education. We’ve had lots of positive feedback from students and staff alike, who are enjoying all of the new features on the website. It’s still early days, but the online enquiry tool is proving to be very popular, with an 80% increase, and applications are running ahead of the same period last year.”

Stephen Clarke
Head of Marketing
Sandwell College

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