Digital standards: a design refresh

Maria Drummond
Tuesday 5 November 2019

Last week we launched a new, updated version of the University’s Digital standards. The standards provide information about digital best practice along with digital policies, procedures and rules for the University of St Andrews. This post provides an overview of the changes we’ve made.

The University’s original Digital standards were launched as part of the Service manual in January 2016. The section explained how to suggest a new project for the digital communications team, plus provided information on the training we offered and various processes for digital products.

Screenshot of the old Service manual web page
The “old” design


The redesigned pages now place greater emphasis on guidance for digital products and processes. This is reflected in the removal of the term ‘Service manual’. The team decided to remove this because it isn’t a well-known term for University staff, who are the primary users for these pages.

Screenshot of new digital standards webpages
New design


We also believed that the old service manual page was actually the page which held our digital standards. So Service manual has now become Digital standards, and users go directly to /digital-standards/ rather than to /service-manual/digital-standards/.

The original web pages were created a few years ago and had only been updated sporadically to for small changes or to add additional pages. This resulted in some of the navigational pages having a lot of options and becoming quite overwhelming for the user.

Screenshot of the old style navigation page in digital standards
Previous design: would you like some content with your navboxes?


There were 75 pages in the Service manual and the most popular pages were House style and Corporate identity. We discovered that there were several pages that were receiving fewer than 50 page views per year

Using this information we looked at all of the pages to ensure content was up to date, relevant for users and accurately reflected the teams’ processes. Regarding the pages with low page views, we reviewed these and decided whether the content on these pages should stay and be used elsewhere, or whether the pages should be removed entirely.

One section which saw some major editing was the Content management pages. Several pages within this section were deleted, and content was updated to reflect how content processes are currently managed by the team. The section is now known as the Digital content policy.

Perhaps one of the most substantial changes made was the decision to move corporate identity content out of Digital Standards and into a new section of the website: Brand. Brand is the place to go for guidance on ensuring the visual and design identity of the University is upheld on the web and in print. We will be blogging about this in more detail soon.Screenshot of new brand website

So, what do you think of the new design? Feel free to pass any feedback to [email protected].

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