Marketing and Communications blog

Showing posts from 03/2012 (cancel)

Being responsive

Posted by Matthew Owen | 1 comment

We’ve been tracking our web metrics for quite a while now to see how much of our website traffic was accounted for by users accessing the site on mobile devices.

It’s no surprise that this figure has risen dramatically over the last year and so we acknowledged that we needed to respond to this trend and look at how the website met the needs of mobile users.

One of the options available was to develop a bespoke mobile optimised site which would serve content in templates specifically with mobile handsets in mind. However, in light of the range of devices we would need to account for we decided to look at how to adopt responsive web design.

Based on a fluid layout, a responsive design approach would allow our web pages to adapt to a wider range of devices and give users an experience optimised for their specific device. It’s a trend that is being adopted by many websites, but you can see some HE website examples here.

Because the UWE website uses a defined set of “page types”, we had a consistent set of designs to develop and test. This was one of the major benefits that came from rebuilding the website structure in 2011.

After testing and refinements with our talented colleagues in IT services, the new responsive pages were rolled out in February and have been well received by users. The most noticeable changes can be seen in the behaviour of the website global navigation and search function which adapt well to smaller screen resolutions (see below).

There are more innovations being developed for the website this year and I look forward to posting more about those soon.