3 of the top UK Higher Education website transformation projects of 2020

No matter where your University or College is based, you may know about the Heist Awards. They are one of Higher Education's best award ceremonies for marketing professionals. They are run independently by a company in the UK and are a fantastic place to see what's new and exciting in the world of Higher Education marketing.

The good news is that you can enter the 2021 Awards until March 5th 2021, via their website: https://www.heistawards.com/ 

In today's blog post we wanted to take a look at some of the winners of the 2020 award, specifically in the category of "Best Website", where competition was fierce and really showed off some of Higher Education's cutting edge online projects. Although the Awards are UK focused, we believe that taking a look at the shortlisted websites will inspire you to go beyond the traditional look of many University and College websites. What is also amazing is that the results were often achieved without very large budgets, but with creativity, innovation and enthusiasm.  Understandably the event in 2020 had to be hosted virtually to honor those who are excelling in the sector, but this didn't dampen the spirits and the event was a roaring online success.

An amazing number of Terminalfour clients were involved again this year, and we wanted to take a moment to celebrate their achievements and show our appreciation for the winners, innovators, and rising stars in the sector. 

The ingredients of an award-winning website

This year was particularly strong in the best website category, and the judges' feedback provided some real food for thought.

Gold award-winner York St John University was praised for designing a website that is well integrated with the University's overall brand and for achieving an excellent return on investment on a minimum budget. The judges were impressed with the site's easy navigability and enhanced user journey experiences. It's also work checking out using a mobile device as the experience is excellent!

Our team also particularly like the striking site designs and use of imagery that helps guide visitors smoothly through the York St John University website. Website content has been well thought out and is relatable and engaging, with persuasive language and stand-out facts and stats that really grab a visitor's attention and make you want to find out more.

YSJ on a desktop

Silver award-winner Swansea University impressed the judges with the methodology, approach, and project management delivered by the in-house team.

Swansea's website was built on a unique pod component system on the Terminalfour platform. The launch last year marked a step-change in terms of usability, content, digital design, and structure and has made a major contribution to their student recruitment outcomes. We're pleased to see the team's efforts rewarded with a second consecutive Silver award.

Swansea Homescreen on a desktop

The University of Wolverhampton's student-centric approach to the re-development of their website was one of the main reasons given for their Bronze award win. Heist Award judges praised the institution for creating a website that gives a strong first impression.

We also really like the way the institution has integrated virtual event booking and virtual tours into the homepage of the site, creating a seamless journey for website visitors wanting to get a more in-depth look at what the university experience is like. The smooth flow of the website and easy-to-follow content make for a great user experience.

wolverhampton Homescreen on a desktop

2020 was the year for digital innovation

For many universities, digital innovation has been pushed further to the forefront in 2020, with initiatives accelerated and in some cases created specifically to respond to the pandemic.

The Heist Awards this year are a showcase and a true testament to the hard work and resilience of these forward-thinking institutions. We congratulate and thank every university that is creating amazing work to support students and staff through these challenging times.

P.S. We've also reviewed the talks delivered by keynote speakers as part of the Heist Awards online event. Have a read of it here for more insights and our key takeaways from the speakers.