Immersing Online Audiences.

Norwich University of the Arts Website


University websites are challenging things. The sheer volume of content is born out of necessity, with each course requiring a sizeable digital estate to deliver enough information to prospective students. Not to mention every other FAQ, news story, alumni success etc etc etc.

And beyond that, every website is a shop window for a business – art schools included. NUA had to project a contemporary understanding of digital design through their website, because it connected to their credibility in teaching young people how to do it.

Which is why when NUA approached us to overhaul their website we knew that part of the problem was inventory –  and part of the problem was experience.

Web technology constantly evolves, and with it so too does the theory on how to design a best in class site. A major shift in recent years has been from a mentality of ‘how do I lay this out for the user?’ (which is essentially the logic of information architecture) to ‘how can I build a brand experience around the user?’ (which creates a more intuitive relationship with the user).

Rather than mapping the masses of content according to an archive-style logic, we worked with UX consultant The User Story to determine the core journeys users were taking through the site, and then designed an immersive experience that felt more personal, more intuitive and more engaging.

We used a number of animation techniques to push users along the journeys and drive deeper engagement across a number of pages – and because we were responding to usage data, users also found everything they were looking for too, so we could balance immersion with usability.

As a result, we saw a 600% uplift in ‘Apply Now’ completions, a 128% uplift in online Open Day bookings and a 42% increase in requests for a prospectus. And because it looked, felt and reacted like a thoroughly modern site,  a new wave of digital design students felt in credible hands as they discovered NUA for the very first time.