The University of Bath. Alphas, betas, digital transition and beyond.


A bespoke publishing platform

The University had outgrown its current content management system. The usual 'off-the-shelf' solutions just weren't up to the job.

Key challenges

  • Planning, designing and building a bespoke CMS from scratch
  • Defining and structuring a completely new publishing journey
  • Gaining staff and stakeholder buy-in

My part

  • Held staff and stakeholder interviews/workshops to establish needs and requirements
  • Worked iteratively to design and build an easy-to-use editor interface
  • Feature-led development cycle

Outcomes

More than three quarters of the content on bath.ac.uk is now created and managed through the Content Publisher application. Feedback from content creators across the university has been extremely positive.


Origins – A beta design language

Origins is a pared-back, content-led design language that still retains a bit of that 'Bath feel'.

Key challenges

  • No defined content structure across the university
  • No formalised digital design language
  • Organisational issues around change management

My part

  • Ran user workshops with content creators, editors and stakeholders to establish needs and requirements
  • Designed a stripped-back design system focused on clarity and readability
  • Partnered with the build team to develop robust, accessible content templates in HTML, CSS and JS

Outcomes

We developed a clean, simple, content-driven design language, flexible enough to power a myriad of content types.


Redesigned the application journey

One of the most fundamental journeys on the site. We needed to start from scratch to meet the changing requirements of both internal and external users.

Key challenges

  • Incredibly complex information hierarchy
  • Competing user needs (internal and external)
  • UI/UX to move beyond what had been established in Origins

My part

  • Gathered user needs and requirements through stakeholder and end user interviews
  • Worked closely with build and content teams to construct a robust course content model
  • Used guerrilla research to talk directly to the ‘difficult to reach’ 18-21 demographic
  • Designed an entirely new visual language

Outcomes

The redesigned application journey is now a smoother and more elegant process, whichever side of the fence the user is on. Course editors have a single source of truth for course information across all media, whereas prospective students can more easily parse the lengthy, complex course requirements and find the core information they need to make an informed decision.


Developed Lens, our new design system

During the course page redevelopment, it became clear that we were moving away from Origins in terms of look and feel.

Key challenges

  • Creating a modern, flexible design system that can power 20+ content types, all with wildly varying content requirements
  • Champion a component-based workflow across all disciplines
  • Establish a long-term design system that pulls together a style guide, a pattern library and other content creation

My part

  • Audited our existing design system, Origins, along with other design assets from around the University
  • Held stakeholder and end user interviews to establish expectations, needs and requirements
  • Created the Lens design system, pattern library and style guide

Outcomes

    Lens has been embraced across the University with previously recalcitrant faculties and departments embracing transition more positively as the new templates better meet their requirements.

    Positive response from users in target 16 - 18 demographic. The new look, structure and approach is more in line with their expectations of a modern, dynamic organisation.

    The pattern library provides a quick and easy way to build static prototypes, freeing up time for increased user research.