Communicating cutting-edge research on the systems that drive human behaviour
The Experimental Psychology department at University College London is engaged in studies that advance understanding of the psychological and biological factors that determine how we behave. Their research includes work on decision making, language, sensory systems, learning and memory.
UCL has a strong track record in the field of experimental psychology going back to 1897. Since then it has been at the forefront of scientific research in this area. Within the tight confines of their previous website they were struggling to communicate their fascinating research questions and exciting discoveries to their audience of academics, students and journalists, as well as members of the public with a keen interest in the subject matter.
University departments often have a structure that can seem to complicated to the uninitiated. The research tends to fall into a number of themes and people within the department collaborate within laboratories and organise and locate with others within centres and facilities. The work involves producing publications, organising and attending events and working with the media to disseminate knowledge.
The key challenge with the project was to ensure that this diversity of activity was reflected in the website without alienating visitors who may be new to the department or may not have a great deal of prior knowledge.
Our design allows casual visitors to quickly understand the scope of the research, identify any studying opportunities, explore news coverage about exciting developments, find out about upcoming events, engage via social media and get a taste of some the research that goes on.
The Bureau completely transformed our web presence from a shambolic hodgepodge of facts and pages into a coherent, easy-to-navigate, distinctive design that is the envy of the other departments at UCL. Not only that, Simon and Adrian were fantastic to work with; I highly recommend them!
Joe Devlin, Head of Department
By introducing new pages for each of the department’s research themes we created a highly search-optimised destination for high volume searches related to experimental psychology.
These pages help to unpack the work of the department and pull together all of the relevant news, view, events, labs, and people in one place.
The university has an existing database of all of the research publications produced by all of its members of staff, the Research Publications Service. In the first integration of its kind at UCL, we collaborated with the RPS team to provide a link between WordPress and the database. This meant we could pull out full publication data for all of the staff in the department, allowing us to feature up-to-date segmented publications throughout the website without any additional content publishing required from departmental staff.
Since the site was launched unique visits to the site have more than tripled, partially due to a rapid rise in search position to the first page of results for the simple query ‘experimental psychology’.
The proportion of visits to the site on mobile devices doubled over the same period, while the mobile bounce rate dropped by 20%, showing the rising importance of responsive design.