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Edinburgh College of Art

The Art of Design

The Who

Drive applications

For Edinburgh College of Art, as with all higher education institutions, the over-riding marketing and communications priority is around driving quality applications to courses.

Five interrelated but distinct schools

Edinburgh College of Art is made up of five different schools that have come together to form what is now a single college. The College needs to distinguish itself from the rest of the University of Edinburgh, and it is important that the five schools are seen as distinct but inter-related in order to promote the sense of a single institution.

Student experience at the forefront

Edinburgh College of Art were keen that the student experience could be brought to life, giving potential students an idea of what life would be like as a student on one of the courses.

The What

  • Put students at the heart of the website

    We wanted to give a glimpse of the environment at Edinburgh College of Art, letting potential students feel what it’s really like to study there. Showcasing student projects also formed an important part of the content structure to demonstrate the quality of work as well as showing how students spend their time.

  • Showcase staff and their projects

    The quality of staff is a key driver for applications, and it was important that the website promoted individuals and their own projects or interests. The aim was to promote expertise and experience as well as add personality to the website.

  • Direct people quickly and easily to course information

    As the core aim of the website is to drive applications, the site should enable people to reach the information they’re seeking very easily, with an intuitive information architecture to help users navigate the Schools and courses, and a robust site search.

  • Create a unique look and feel for the website

    It was essential that Edinburgh College of Art be positioned as a highly creative School within the University of Edinburgh, with a distinct and highly creative website design, great visual assets and images.

  • Ensure content is accessible to all, across all devices

    As use of mobile and tablet devices continues to increase, we needed to make sure each visitor had a consistent experience across all devices. This is particularly relevant for decisions such as a University application where a user may visit the site multiple times, accessing content via different devices.

The Why

‘I want to study…’

To make finding a course as easy as possible, we devoted a large part of the homepage to a course search. By using a conversational style, along with an auto-complete search field, users had quick direct access to their subject of choice.

Conveying student life

Another key factor in driving applications was to show what it is like to study at Edinburgh College of Art. For this we used specially shot videos of students working in different environments around the college. These were shown in rotation on the homepage to give visitors a flavour of student life.

Navigating the college

The preparation work on the different audiences and their journeys at the discovery stage informed the navigation approach. We used a mega-menu to provide users with an organised overview of all content, adding imagery for key sections, such as schools, to add impact. On the pages themselves we used a drop-down breadcrumb menu, providing users with context and access to other pages within the same section.

Common ground

As part of the Information Architecture development we helped organise the content in to common themes using taxonomies. Once applied these were then used to connect different areas of content across the site. So, on some pages users were guided to related content, other pages used the taxonomies for filters, allowing users to find programmes or narrow down searches.

Consistency across devices

A large proportion of applicants use mobile devices to research and apply, so the experience had to be consistent. We used several user experience techniques to deliver the same depth of content on smaller screens. Sliding cards allowed users to swipe through collections of content, while tabbed interfaces and accordions gave users control over what content they viewed while saving valuable screen space.

Bespoke Navigation
Video Strategy
Advanced Search
Information Architecture
Concept and Art Direction
Image Strategy

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