How Squiz transformed LSBU’s digital experience

The London-based university wanted to redevelop its website in order to improve the user experience.

The client:

London South Bank University (LSBU) is a public university in Newington, London. It has 17,605 students and 1,700 staff, and is based in the London Borough of Southwark, near the South Bank of the River Thames, from which it takes its name

The brief:

LSBU realised that its website consisted of an astounding 286,000 distinct URLs, distributed across 130 domains and sub-domains. With so many different pages and contributors, LSBU was faced with a diluted brand and disjointed service for the user when navigating around the site. The four-person web team had quite a task to tame the enterprise-level website. Hand-coded pages, lack of integration with other systems and the inability to schedule content publications made tasks, even small ones, a laborious and cumbersome affair.

Sitemorse, the independent digital insight provider, had ranked the LSBU website 179th spot nationally in their league table of Higher Education websites, something that the team knew they needed to improve to compete against universities that had seamless websites. LSBU used their small but talented in-house team to redevelop the old site to a point where they had reached a ranking of 106th, but at this point partnered with digital services firm Squiz to ensure that it had the ability to provide an outstanding customer experience.

The strategy:

The first step for LSBU was completely transforming the external-facing website so that it was student-first whilst also hitting the numerical targets of increasing site visits to 40,000 per month, and increasing student applications by 8%. In order to do this, Squiz prioritised delivering clear workflow processes, a sturdy infrastructure and quick updates, whilst keeping the university’s online footprint on-brand. To ensure that this could be maintained, Squiz worked to empower the LSBU team and their technology. When the team behind the site had an important role to play, they were engaged from start to finish.

Simple, effective and relevant content was also high on the agenda. By using Squiz’s Matrix CMS system, there was no longer a need for hand-coded pages and time consuming updates were eliminated. Content is now simplified through a central governance structure, educating and allowing all teams to schedule updates themselves through an automated system. This ensures that rich, engaging content flows throughout the website, making the user experience simpler and also more informative and useful.

To make all this content accessible, Funnelback Search powers the Site-Search. The platform is used to pull relevant information to the user and clean-up previous navigation issues. Across the entire website the search offers multiple options for the discovery of content.

The result:

Over the last three years the digital experience that LSBU offers to students has completely transformed. The site came first in 2016 in the Sitemorse ranking of Higher Education and Further Education sites, and ranked second for all websites worldwide by Sitemorse. LSBU completely surpassed their target of 40,000 visitors per month to their site, resulting in a 13% application conversion rate. In addition, the team has been empowered to maintain the interface

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