The Open College of Equine Studies was the UK’s first online college to deliver distance learning courses in horsecare, equine management and veterinary nursing. However, a dated online presence and poorly performing website were hampering enrolments which had started to plateau. We designed and built a new website to reverse the decline by simplifying the user journey and optimising performance.
Planning and UX design.
Following a series of workshops, our team began to understand how users engage and interact with the site. The ability to find courses quickly and easily through an intuitive and logical search ranked highly as did the ability to complete an application with the minimum of fuss. Rather than having a lengthy enrolment form to complete, users wanted to see a stepped process which made the experience less daunting, in addition the ability to save an application part way through was requested.
But we didn’t just consider how students might like to engage with the site, we also thought about the admin area too – the new site had to be easy for the college to manage and administer. When considering backend functionality, our sites are tailored to the client’s individual requirements.
Wireframing, prototyping and persona development were all considered prior to the design phase. Adhering to brand guidelines, we wanted to create an engaging and visually appealing site which worked seamlessly across desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
Reaching out to a global audience.
Given the number of countries and the diversity of audiences, it was vital that the site performed optimally whether being viewed from Australia or America. We recommended a content delivery network to speed up access – this also helped with search engine ranking and SEO performance, being one of the many factors search engines take into consideration when ranking sites.
Within six months, the college saw a marked increase in traffic and conversions particularly from mobile. An integrated payment system with multiple funding options including card, bank transfer, cheque and finance, helped motivate those unable to pay for courses upfront.