Delivering a consistent and modern digital platform for - one of the world’s most elite Universities

Founded in 1209, The University of Cambridge is the fourth-oldest surviving university in the world, therefore it was a great pleasure to help this historic institution develop their main, university website.

It is globally recognised as one of the most elite academic institutions and has more than 19,000 students. However, with 438 different sites, on over 90 different software platforms, the digital presence of Cambridge University was inconsistent and lacked a sense of cohesion.

So developers here at BrightLemon stepped in to deliver an innovative, digital strategy and roadmap to reflect The University of Cambridge’s status as a cutting-edge learning centre.

Creating unity for Cambridge University membership

The original structure of the site was difficult to navigate, therefore the main goal of the project was to create a modern and consistent design, which functioned successfully across many different websites.

"Our website needs to be attractive to potential research funders and donors, new recruits, alumni, and the general public. At the very minimum, we need the appearance of a joined-up University" - The University of Cambridge

In order to create this coherence, our developers found inspiration from the BBC’s Global Experience Language (GEL), a shared design framework enabling the BBC to create consistent and sleek user experiences across all of their sites.

BBC GEL templates work to provide a recognisable experience across many outputs, allowing numerous services to develop collectively, rather than independently.

Taking elements of this successful parent model on board, BrightLemon teamed up with it London based agency, Head, to deliver Project Light - a new web style guide to be used

across all digital platforms.

By implementing templates, multiple sites which fall under the banner of Cambridge University have been successfully aligned into a sleek and consistent design, very much in-line with their innovative reputation.

Developing an accessible digital platform for users

Another key element of the project was to create a mobile-friendly website which could be used across a range of digital platforms.

To achieve this, our developers used a reusable Drupal framework and a selection of open Drupal modules, so the site seamlessly responds to mobile and tablet device sizes and staff and students can easily navigate it with enhanced usability.

"We knew we wanted to evolve our websites to be smarter, and more usable across as many devices as possible.

The inclusion of BrightLemon's work in this process has ensured we can meet these aims, without compromising the volume and quality of our world-class content." Barney Brown, Digital Communications Manager for the University of Cambridge

Our developers successfully created a unified and easy to navigate digital platform for Cambridge University

Cambridge University homepage - 2007

Cambridge University homepage - 2013

"As one of the world’s top brands in academic education, re-building their site was a major responsibility.

"We are really proud of how it looks, what it delivers to the students and staff, enabling them to access and engage with one of the most innovative university sites across a range of mobile devices." - BrightLemon Director, Leon Tong

Future plans

In the future, our developers have plans to improve the website further by creating a personalised profile for Cambridge members – My Cambridge. This would feature a personal academic progress tab, as well as a news feed, similar to Facebook, to collate all the students’ information into one, easy to navigate, place.