University of Brighton: A major user research and design programme transforms the website user experience

A little background

Today, the average cost of a three year University degree is roughly the same as a brand new BMW. More than ever before, Universities need to work incredibly hard to attract and engage prospective students, and to deliver a first-class service that is seen as value for money. With this competitive business driver in mind, the University of Brighton recognised the need to radically improve their public facing website, to make it more accessible and user friendly to its diverse audience of prospective and current students, staff and the general public. 

“We now have a website that we can be incredibly proud of ”

Liz Sanz: Head of Marketing and Communications

The project

Sigma was invited to undertake a wide ranging user research programme that would inform the design process and functional requirements of the new site. At the same time, the University recognised the need to achieve some quick wins that would deliver improvements for the forthcoming intake of applications and new students.


The University wanted to really understand what their users wanted, preferred and expected from their experience at University, so they could effectively meet those requirements and focus on the reasons why students chose Brighton over other Universities. Our remit was to deliver a site that was beautifully put together, exceptionally easy to use, accessible to all, reflective of the diverse needs of their users, and suitably persuasive in engaging and converting prospective students.

What we did

  • Expert evaluation of the current site and identification of quick wins
  • User research with over 800 users through surveys, workshops, interviews and focus groups
  • Content audit and streamlining
  • Information Architecture
  • User Experience and interaction design
  • Task-based observational user testing
  • Training in writing for the web

The bottom line

Sigma delivered a comprehensive user engagement, design and user testing project that has enabled the University to develop a truly innovative website that successfully engages current and prospective students in an increasingly competitive market.

  • Delivered a conversion rate increase of 161%
  • Average pages per session increase from 2.82 to 6.63
  • Average session duration increased from 2.09 minutes to 3.19 minutes

Related Work

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