Having enjoyed a positive relationship with Franklin College over the last 6-7 years, we were delighted to have worked alongside them to create a dynamic, time saving, efficient website. Working collaboratively, we have been able to deliver a website which;
- Reaches and engages with the target audience
- Delivers a vibrant, modern, Mobile First design
- Is user friendly
- Integrates with other tools including the local online prospectus Lincs 2
- Saves College staff valuable time condensing admin tasks from hours to minutes allowing them to seamlessly import student applications from the Application Manager into their MIS system.
Franklin College is North East Lincolnshire's top performing college, it needed a website that reflected this position. Franklin wanted a modern, forward thinking educational establishment whose target audience is young people, predominantly school leaver’s and their carer’s.
A website is always an important sales and recruitment tool for any organisation but with young people spending a high proportion of their time engaging, interacting, socialising and purchasing online, it is more important than ever for a college website to stand out. With over 52% of visitors to Franklins previous website accessing it via their mobile phones it also needed to be designed to work flawlessly on a mobile device.
Franklin wanted a website that is big, bold, fresh and dynamic, interactive, engaging and easily accessible for both students and parents alike enabling them to,
- Find and apply for courses easily
- Explore curriculum areas and get a feel for the learning environment
- Connect with the college and feel involved on a personal level
- Browse information easily
- Find and explore resources, news and events e.g. open days etc…
The college also wanted their website to be user friendly for administrators, a system that is quick and easy to update saving time and costs for those involved and enable them to,
- Easily and effectively promote curriculum areas and courses
- Capture data of visitors to the website
- Easily update all areas of the website
- Easily manage applications
We work closely with all of our clients and like to fully understand their business goals including their target audience. The design process begins with research and meetings to establish the aims of the website.
Experience & Expertise
Luckily for us, we have a wealth of experience creating stand out web designs for colleges and work with young people on a regular basis providing eLearning modules for training and educational organisations. This experience (and a little additional research!) helped us to understand user behaviour and develop the design and user journey based on this knowledge.
Having worked with a range of colleges and having produced online prospectuses for North and N.E Lincolnshire, Hull and East Riding Councils, we were able to draw on our existing expertise of integration tools.
Lincs2, Lincs4U, Log On Move On and the Humber Energy Campus are all examples of online prospectuses we have designed, develop and maintain. They allow prospective students to explore a range of courses in their local area and apply directly from the portal. The portal integrates with the local college systems so that admin teams can receive and process the applications.
As a result of working on these systems, we used our experience to create a bespoke integrated system for Franklin College. The system enabled them to seamlessly import applications from the Application Manager into their Management Information System (MIS). This process saves hours and hours of admin time a week!
The team were able to create a dynamic, time saving, stand out website that supported the college with its business objectives, Fiona Headridge, Director of Communications & Student Recruitment, Franklin College commented,
We are so pleased with our website designed by First Media. We knew when we looked to redevelop our site that as a college it is important to have an engaging site. First Media took time to research our target audiences and the technologies most widely used, this information was key to the whole project.
The site needed to be functional for us, the First Media team have been able to incorporate features in it that can save staff lot of time.
The fact that first Media are aware of educational reporting requirements is so helpful!
This project has been exciting from start to finish. It has had challenges but these have been to the benefit of the finished product. First media will give guidance at all stages and will always give an honest opinion when asked and because you deal directly with the designers and developers you are kept up to date at all stages.
We look forward now to using the site and letting it show Franklin off to its very best.
Richard Pipe (Rich) our lead designer on the project said,
We sought to create aspirational values through the site by showing real learners at the college and sharing their experiences. Based on the existing Franklin brand, we adopted strong colours and combined them with large imagery of the real learners, to give the website a clean look and feel which resonates with the target audience.
Rich and the team at Franklin agreed that an infographic style, combined with subtle animation would also be used throughout the website to highlight key facts and draw the user’s attention. They also used video in the main banner on the homepage and throughout the website.
Our research suggested that most users are accessing the website through mobile, so we adopted a Mobile First Strategy and user journey. This design style means that the website is designed primarily for mobile devices, before creating correlating designs for desktop and tablet, and rather than treating mobile as an afterthought. By focusing on the mobile experience, we are able to improve the navigation and experience for users, as well as hooking into functions built into the mobile phone.
We worked collaboratively with Franklins marketing team to create a site that is constantly active, uses a direct tone and has strong calls to action and stand out features including;
- A dynamic homepage, and user interface (where information is easy to find and only one click away from accessing every single page
- An interactive social wall, which allows posts from students and staff alike to appear. The posts can be pulled in from a range of social media channels including, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
- Use of colour and photography designed to relate to the audience whilst keeping within brand guidelines
- Easy to use application process
- Custom built administration area for staff to process applications and easily facilitate course management.
It was a great project to work on and we are proud of the final result.
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