Edinburgh College of Art




DIGITAL MEDIA: Website Design




Edinburgh College of Art


Edinburgh College of Art https://www.graduateshow.eca.ed.ac.uk/

For students at Edinburgh College of Art, the highlight of their final academic year is the graduate show. It’s a chance to showcase their work to family and friends, academics, future undergraduates, members of the public and – most importantly – potential employers. But what if this annual celebration of the college’s brightest talent gets cancelled (twice) by the coronavirus crisis? If you’re Edinburgh College of Art, you embrace the opportunity and create one of the best new graduate show websites in the UK and (with Parkhouse’s help) deliver an online gallery experience that exceeded the KPI for time spent on the site and attracted nearly 70,000 page views in the first 10 days after launch.

The brief demanded a simple and clean website that was ‘on trend’, with a stated lifecycle of just three cycles to keep it relevant. The new site had to incorporate a new, internally produced degree show marque every year, and fit within the university’s brand guidelines and design principles (which as a long-standing agency partner, we helped to create and update).

Our project began with a series of ‘discovery workshops’ with students, alumni, academics and university staff to identify the qualities and pain points of the existing college site. Based on feedback, we placed students’ work at the heart of the design, and gave them flexibility to populate their own content (3,500 pieces of work from 400 graduate artists, designers, architects, composers and filmmakers). Our light-touch approach to colour and typography playing only a supportive role. The workshops also highlighted the importance of the website in facilitating recruitment and internships. So, we incorporated a student search function, ensured their information was always in view, and made contact details easily accessible for potential employers (and for family and friends).

We also considered user experience at all times, with intuitive navigation to featured news and upcoming events. As people were unable to visit in person, we sought to deliver a ‘gallery experience’ through the graduate show website with design and functionality. For example, pop-up videos allowed students to talk through their work while users scrolled – just as they might when proudly sharing their work in person. For users wishing to explore different work across different themes, a bespoke tagging system (allowing filtering by everything from Environment and Emotion to Conflict and Consumerism) helped them navigate the site... just like exploring a physical gallery.