Plumpton College

With outstanding indoor and outdoor facilities including farming around 2,500 acres of land in conjunction with several landlords, their outstanding estate has grown to become one of the leading centres for land-based education in the UK.

The absolute focus at Plumpton College is helping people succeed. Whether that’s learning a new skill or hobby, gaining qualifications that help students achieve a career, or improving skills to help their current role. With their dedicated expert teachers and support staff, they’re definitely well-placed to help students achieve their potential.

July 2022 Update

A major component of any successful website relies on constant iterative improvements. We’ve been working on small but impactful updates since the website launched in 2016. 

In addition to this, we recently conducted user research and a full SEO and content audit. This has led to more wholesale changes:

  • Renamed courses types. Ensuring we’re using the same terminology as students
  • Redesigned navigation and user journeys. Over time, the navigation had become cluttered. It was important to show just the right amount of information, funneling users into their desired path. 
  • Reengineered the course finder. As well as different types of courses, we are now giving users ways to find courses that are relevant to them such as their age.
  • Refreshed brand - Building on brand identity work,we created a look and feel that was more in-keeping with the signage and other offline  collateral, while keeping it fresh and relevant for the web.

We’re looking forward to evaluating the impact of these changes and using this information to keep improving the website.

The Brief

Plumpton College had long since outgrown their old website, with large amounts of content that was difficult to find and navigate and a dated look and feel that didn’t accurately represent the forward thinking approach of the staff at the college. A major overhaul of the sites structure and content was essential.

With nearly 300 courses available at any one time, ease of navigation for users was essential. To manage large scale content of this nature a simple yet scalable backend system to manage content would also be key for the success of the website and its ongoing maintenance.

Visually the site needed to appeal to its young audience, and accurately represent the environment students would enter if coming to study at the college - a well organised, welcoming and supportive space that encourages learning and development.

The Challenge

Course content from course to course varies greatly but being able to show this information consistently was important to help prospective students accurately compare courses. We spent a lot of time wireframing a course layout that could adapt whilst maintaining consistency across pages.

With such a large amount of historic content, prioritising the objectives of the new website was important to ensure that users could easily find what they are looking for. This meant some tough decisions about what content would remain on the new site, but also being mindful to make certain that the sites structure had relevant sections to encapsulate future content growth.

The Result

The website is now built using the content management system TYPO3 which offers an impressive set of tools allowing Plumpton college administrators to easily create, move or update content themselves.

We opted for a style tile process for this project to ensure that our design accurately delivered the modern design that the client had requested. This approach allows us to quickly explore different visual styles before choosing an aesthetic to move forward with. To help users find their desired destination we opted for a navigation that includes a page description to help educate users of what they will find once clicking through, this approach, coupled with a site-wide secondary navigation in the sidebar allows for quick browsing around the site and also acts as a wayfinder so users always know where they are within the sites structure.

Various processes have now been optimised through the use of online forms, allowing students to apply for courses or accommodation, landlords can post properties for students to rent, and bursary and apprenticeship requests can also be completed online. These systems reduce the administrative burden associated with these tasks greatly.

The website is fully responsive and has an instant visual impact. Content is now organised in a clear and easy to navigate way. Various content types such as courses, call to actions, testimonials, vacancies and accommodation are grouped in the backend of the site for ease of management. This approach also allows for administrators to have differing access rights, ensuring they only see and access the parts of the site they are responsible for updating.

This modern, flexible and scalable website is now live and ready to grow as the college continues to flourish.