City College Plymouth is one of the South West’s leading providers of vocational, professional, and technical training in a highly competitive field. As part of the larger body of work to develop the brand across various channels, we were commissioned to build a modern responsive website to be used by a target audience of all ages and backgrounds. With course search a priority, the new website had to integrate with the College’s internal systems.
Research comes first
Research and specification always come first with a website build, so we held stakeholder interviews at the College to find out more about the users. On open days, we spoke to faculty staff as well as students to find out how they used the site and what they thought was needed for improvement.
Using this audience and stakeholder insight, we developed user journeys, wireframes, and a new sitemap with courses as the primary focus.
Simplifying the message
Together with the College team we simplified the messaging, introduced video content and re-wrote all of the copy, aligning tone-of-voice and creating a bold and contemporary look-and-feel that evokes the College’s brand values, and helps to establish a confident website that will attract students of all ages and interests. A clean and clear design made to communicate easier through visual language and signposting.
We also worked on other projects including the Prospectus and the development of the visual brand language through photographic style.
We are continuing to work with City College Plymouth providing analysis and recommendations from their Google Analytics to enhance the site. We have also created an internal reporting dashboard for them, where they are able to run bespoke reports with data collected from various databases.
The new website’s layout has dramatically improved the user experience placing the emphasis upon searching for course information and applying in a minimum number of clicks.
And it won a coveted Gold Award from the College Marketing Network’s FE First Awards. This award recognised the team behind the College’s revamped website, who beat three other shortlisted colleges to take first place in the Website Development Project category at the FE First Awards – the national awards which celebrate marketing excellence in further education colleges across the UK.
The judges for the Website Development category proclaimed that it was ‘the best they had ever seen’, particularly highlighting the team’s successful management of such a complex project.
“It’s unusual for me to write emails such as this but thought that you deserved some direct feedback from the College on the work that your team has been doing for us in managing the rebuild project for the College’s website.
My colleagues have been particularly impressed with your team and their highly professional approach. They’ve been an absolute pleasure to deal with. They are ensuring that the project is on track and have been very accommodating when the College has changed its mind about particular aspects of the project or where we have been particularly demanding about something. In particular, Mathew, Heather and Luke have been amazing. My team has worked with many marketing agencies over the years and their view is that the team from Bluestone have been the best. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to others, nor to working with them again on future projects.”