Earlier this year, the University of Exeter, Arts & Culture came to us with a brief to redesign and redevelop their website. The main objective of the site was to combine the different departments which reside under the Arts & Culture banner and integrate them so that their events could be promoted using one central tool.

At the time, the University approached several companies with a brief, but after a provisional conversation with Kevin Price and Dom Jinks, they decided that Optix Solutions were most suited to the project. The University chose Optix not only because we could see the potential in the brief they offered us, but also because we were a web agency that could offer them a full range of in-house services, including social media strategy and search engine optimisation (SEO). This was important as the project itself would take 5-7 years to be fully implemented; therefore the University required a company that was ready to develop a long term relationship with them.

To understand the complexity of the project, we carried out three days (totalling 10 meetings) of consultancy that examined how the elements of each department fitted within Arts & Culture. This enabled us to produce a detailed report explaining how we recommended the project moving forward.

Our consultancy determined that it was essential to build the site around the Research Excellence Framework (REF); a system that has been put in place by the British government to assess the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). One of the criteria of the assessment is that the University are judged on their ability to impact on the wider community, therefore with this in mind it was vital that the site showcased the skills and abilities of the performers, drawing in the general public as well as the students and staff at the University.

The University are proud of their students and wanted the site to not only showcase their brand, which represents elements of unity, integration and culture, but also capture the interest of their students. Since the new website is not due to go live until 2013, it was decided that a microsite should be built in time for the new term so that students could become familiar with the brand and have a central place where they could view what significant events were taking place. You can view the microsite by visiting

Our consultancy gave us a thorough understanding of what the University required and enabled us to provide a solution that was completely bespoke to the University’s needs. The microsite only represents part of that solution as we continue to take our understanding and apply it to the build of the main website that is due to go live in 2013. For more information on our consultancy call us on 01392 667766.

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