Updates to the University homepage

Lewis Wake
Wednesday 10 October 2018

The digital communications team have made some significant improvements to the University of St Andrews homepage in line with user feedback gathered from the survey that was featured on the University homepage over the summer.

Having had more than 250 responses to the survey, we have based the new changes on the top tasks and journeys that users are undertaking from the homepage.

Looking up course information directly from the homepage

Of the survey participants, the main finding from the top task question of the survey was that the majority of users use the University homepage to look up course information. This response ranked highly among prospective students, current students, and staff.

Previously, we have linked to the subjects landing page from the hero banner on the homepage to cater for users looking to find course information. On the subjects page, there is a course search feature that allows users to find the course page they are looking for quickly.

This has now been included prominently on the University homepage as it was regarded the number one top task for the majority of user groups.

Accessing current student essentials quickly

We had 100 responses from current undergraduate and postgraduate students. This made up the majority of respondents to the homepage survey.

A lot of the focus on the previous homepage catered to prospective students and all other external audiences, but obviously internal audiences use the University homepage too.

Top tasks for current undergraduate and postgraduate students are as follows:

Answer choices Responses
Accessing MySaint 63
Accessing the student portal 55
Accessing MMS 38
Accessing Moodle 36
Looking up course information 28
Checking semester dates 21


To cater this requirement, we have added panels on the University homepage below the three main navigation boxes which include quick links to the top tasks listed. Future usability testing will determine the user satisfaction and success rates of this inclusion.

Featured events

The refreshed design also incorporates integrated features from other external websites we have worked on throughout the programme. One of these features is the inclusion of notable events that link to the recently updated events website.

Previously, featured events were included in the same area where news was featured. Results from usability testing determined that users had little knowledge about University events, even though a link was present on the homepage.

We have separated events content from the news tiles to add clarity.

Showcasing our University’s achievements

The previous news tile grid on the University homepage would often feature news stories that celebrated University awards and achievements for months at a time as there was no other place on the homepage to properly acknowledge this.

During the work on the research website, we developed a showcase banner pattern demonstrating the University’s accolades, and through the use of iconography and text we can direct the user to the source of these statements to find out more. The showcase banner pattern is also a good opportunity to add some colour to the page and to contrast with the adjacent sections.

We have now included this pattern on the University homepage in hopes that our achievements can be more prominently displayed.

Future updates

The digital communications team are dedicated to supporting and improving the University website in response to the requirements of the user. If you use the University website in any capacity we welcome any feedback you may have regarding your experiences with it.

We will also be conducting usability testing regarding these recent changes in the near future. If you would be interested in participating, or you would just like to send us any feedback, please contact us by email via [email protected].

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