Listed in the top 1% of universities globally, the University of Southampton is a member of the elite Russell Group and is renowned for its excellence in research and education. With a history dating back to 1862 the University has a rich heritage, but has also remains on the cutting edge of innovation. However, the institute’s website failed to emulate this international success.

The former website had both a central portal and a multitude of microsites, which utilised a core template, however no variations of the site offered a cross-device, user-friendly online experience. This resulted in poor user engagement and missed conversions, as well as having a detrimental impact on the University’s brand image.


Top 1% university in the world


Wireframes designed and mapped out


Wireframes created for key landing pages


“We selected After Digital to carry out the redesign of our University website because of their holistic, thorough and creative approach to web design. I'm confident that together we will create an engaging sector leading design that is shaped around the user journey, providing our users with a seamless experience through which they achieve their goals.”

Sophie Dear, Head of Digital,
University of Southampton

With the emphasis on creating a user-centric website that appealed to a number of audience groups worldwide, our team spent significant time on site with the University’s stakeholders getting under the surface of key business and user objectives. Deep audience analysis was conducted to identify key user personas, upon which user scenarios and stories could be built.

As well as being the basis for our UX wireframing, these user personas are a key part of our usability testing process, allowing us to ensure the end solution delivers upon key user needs. Furthermore, by establishing these user personas it encourages everyone from designers to copywriters to consider the context of consumption, resulting in a more personalised and relevant user experience.



User Journey and Wireframing

Working collaboratively with the University’s digital team, we explored a number of pivotal user journeys, focusing on building out a series of wireframes for both flexible modules (82 designed and mapped out in total) and over 45 wireframes for key landing pages.

Crafted with ecommerce best practice in mind and borrowing from other industries, the wild card design was selected as the way forward. Designs were then handed over to our front-end development team who translated them into fully responsive, fluid templates.


The new website went live just last month and has received fantastic feedback from internal stakeholders and users alike. Engagement metrics are on the up across the board and content administrators have far greater capacity and control over their landing pages.

The success of this project led to the University of Southampton returning to After Digital to develop an innovative digital-first content strategy and media platform to serve its alumni and staff.

“Its been a great journey with the University of Southampton, from initial on site discovery right through to launch. We're immensely proud of all the team's hard work and the strong collaboration with the University's incumbent team to take these stunning responsive, front-end designs through to fruition. This project allowed us to take our learnings from a number of other higher education and further education projects, as well as further afield, to create a bold new online presence that sets the University apart in the global marketplace.”

David Johnstone, Managing Director, After Digital