Bracknell & Wokingham College serves a diverse student population of school leavers and adult learners. Delivering courses in over 30 centres in Bracknell, Wokingham and the surrounding area.
In 2009 the opening of a new £36 million college building needed to be fully supported by the launch of a new, content managed and fully integrated website.
As the majority of learners now use the internet as their first port of call when researching courses, it became increasing obvious to the college Marketing team that the old college website was not fit for purpose. A new website was an integral part of the redevelopment plan, in line with their commitment to offer easy access to further education by encouraging school leavers and adults to make the most of the new facilities and courses on offer.
The importance of the college’s web presence was also recognised as a high priority by a range of other departments within the college and a cross-functional committee was formed to develop a business case and identify user requirements.
Siobhan Cronin Marketing and Admissions Manager comments;
“The college committee interviewed and shortlisted potential suppliers. The presentation and proposal put forward by Unified Solutions was not only head and shoulders above the competition but was also unanimously endorsed by everyone. The obvious synergy between the college team and the Unified team was apparent right from the start, and we drew confidence from Unified’s extensive experience in the higher education sector. We knew we wanted an off- the-shelf solution but one which could be customised to meet our specific requirements.”
A key requirement of the site was simplicity, not only for the end users but also for the content editors, including students, to showcase their work. The college wanted a new look and feel with a navigation that was easy to use, compelling and that incorporated the new college branding guidelines. A dynamic search facility that would pull information from the entire site was essential.
Unified recommended the Alterian WCMS for its ease of use and scalability. Another important factor was Unified’s experience integrating with the ebs4 Tribal database, where all course information is stored. Information stored in the database is now seamlessly fed into the website and will now be updated in one location for publishing onto the web and print.
Unified Account manager Patrick Ryan was delighted with the team’s enthusiasm “The college team wholeheartedly embraced the InSite™ methodology allowing Unified to create prototype clickable wireframes using information gained during extensive usability testing, ultimately producing a state of the art website that caters individually to the diverse range of website visitors”
Six distinctive tabs across the home page identify the main types of potential visitors and direct them to areas of the website for more specific information. The use of personas was so successful that it will be used again as new audiences for the site are identified. Targeted information appears in boxes on the left hand side and can be adapted to the specific audience while more general news and contact information appears on the right hand side of each page.
- The number of website visitors increased by over 30% since the launch of the new website
- Significantly improved length of user sessions
- Over 600 applications were received within the first month of the online application form being implemented.
- The college have received overwhelming praise that the new site is much easier to use and as a result significantly less complaints.
- The take-up of downloading the college prospectus in PDF format has saved the college a large amount of money on posting printed versions.
Bracknell & Wokingham College serves a diverse student population of school leavers and adult learners, delivering courses in over 30 centres in Bracknell, Wokingham and the surrounding area
The presentation and proposal put forward by Unified Solutions was not only head and shoulders above the competition but was also unanimously endorsed by everyone. The obvious synergy between the [teams] was apparent right from the start, and we drew confidence from Unified’s extensive experience...