Stoke College Mockup2 Stoke-on-Trent College

Bringing you the new Stoke-on-Trent College website

Every new project comes with a new set of requirements and challenges. The Stoke-on-Trent College project was an interesting one for us here at SMILE: it pushed us into new avenues that we hadn’t previously explored as a company.

One of the first challenges we faced during this project was around the use of colour. With the recent rise in the importance of accessibility, colour palette is something that is always outlined early on. Accessible colour pairings are something that can really aid those who may struggle to digest certain content. Even for those who don’t struggle, it is important to bear things like colour in mind.

During the exploration process early in the project, we found that the current suite of colours didn’t offer us the options and flexibility we were looking for. We introduced a new pink/magenta shade into the existing yellow and blue colour palette which is now widely used across the website for buttons and other CTA’s.

Stoke Design System Mockup@2x Stoke-on-Trent College
An overview of the colour palette, components and typographic styles

Content was also a big challenge throughout this project. It is easy for institutions to underestimate the sheer volume of content that exists on their current website when upgrading to a new site. We like to carry out content audits towards the start of the project to better understand the scale of the site and get a handle on the content.

For this project, Stoke-on-Trent College also recruited us to move across all their content. This was a task we hadn’t embarked on before, especially not on this scale. This process gave us incredible insight into the requirements of a content team and the processes that need to be in place for successful content migration. Take a read of our article on the blueprint for an ideal content team.

A screenshot of a course page from the Stoke-on-Trent College website redesign

Another noteworthy element of this project is the introduction of a prospective career search. It is expected behaviour to search for a news article or to search for a course on an institutional website. A career search is something different. It offers a slightly different approach for users who know the career they want but may be unsure of the course they need to complete to get to that career.

The future

Moving forward with Stoke-on-Trent College post-launch, they have signed onto our creative retainer service, Evolve, in which they are subscribed to a certain amount of hours worth of work each month. It is beneficial for both parties to be on a retainer instead of completing work on an ad hoc basis. One big piece of work that has been carried out since the launch of this website is the introduction of a prospectus builder. Using their Evolve hours, Stoke-on-Trent College has been able to enhance their new site with an efficient programme of continuous improvement.

Elliott Barnicle
Elliott Barnicle

Lead Designer