The University of Southampton
Digital Team Blog

The principles behind the design of our new products

When we talk about transformation, what we mean is changing how things work to make better use of the opportunities afforded by digital.

How this is done depends on the organisation, but it usually includes making services simpler to use and cheaper to run.

Transformations in the University, to date, existed in the OneWeb programme. This work spanned over a few years, and resulted in a lot of change for everyone involved.

OneWeb was a ‘user-centred transformation’. This means that improving users’ experience was our first priority.

As a university, our aim is to make the admission journey easier for people to apply for courses, and for other user groups such as researchers, funders, companies to be able to find information in the way that makes sense to them, in their own context.

Our design principles and standards

Our design principles and standards reflect how we think about design. They provide a way for us to look at the work we create, how we create it, building the right thing and more importantly, building it right.

No one should be prevented from interacting with us or using our services. We believe in removing barriers. To help us do this, we must meet these standards.

Our design standards help us create and maintain good digital products and services. They instruct our choices and the work we produce. We use them to assess whether we’re doing a good job. These standards are universal: we can apply them to everything we do regardless of channel or product.

Understand users and their needs

We’re finding out who the users are, including the less obvious users.

Design and build whole journeys

We don’t force users to understand how the university works; we design joined up end-to-end services based on what users need.

Make it simple to use

Remove complexity for users, even if this makes our work more challenging.

Make sure everyone can use it confidently

We remove barriers to services. We research and design with inclusion and diversity in mind. We put our designs in front of people with access needs to find out any barriers and issues.

Use the right content at the right time, in the right way

We use data and evidence to understand what content users need and when they need it. Create content that helps people achieve what they need to do.

Iterate and improve frequently

Make improvements throughout the lifetime of the product or service. Focus on improvements that add value for users.

Define what success looks like and measure performance

We define what we want to achieve from the start. We identify the right metrics, then baseline, then track performance against them.

What’s in scope for the July release?

The big services and journeys that are in scope for our July release are:

  1. Study pages
  2. Study highlights
  3. Study facilities
  4. Research facilities
  5. Staff profiles
  6. Research areas
  7. Research Projects
  8. Research Groups, Centres, Institutes
  9. Postgraduate Research (PGR) – how to apply
  10. About our university section to include representation of faculties, schools and departments

We will release a full roadmap, including planned releases and mechanism for feedback, soon.

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