Agile website rebuild to increase online student conversion rates with Plymouth University


Collaborating with Plymouth University to deliver a brand new website

  • Relaunched website to increase online student conversion rate
  • New website designed around different student and stakeholder groups
  • Increased accessibility for online platform, including mobile
  • Custom build CMS (Content Management System) implemented to support individual requirements

A website to meet commercial demands and student needs

As the competition to attract new students increases, universities have had to become much more commercially oriented. For Plymouth University, one of the ways to achieve this was to improve the way that they engage with prospective students online. The University is fully aware that most students learn about what they have to offer through their website, and wanted their site to better reflect the quality of the Plymouth University experience.


What our client had to say

Paul Westmore | Interim CIO | Plymouth University

“We knew the site had to change, but not just in terms of design. We had to make sure it gave a great experience on mobile devices such as smartphones, as that is how a large number of our potential students now want to interact with us.”

​​Every design fully tested with students before build

To create a site that delivers what users want, our team ran sessions with different user groups, with particular emphasis on primary users: students. We worked to deliver the most important features first, iterating to add further functionality on the basis of evidence gathered for what was most effective. Our team co-located with the team at Plymouth University, living in a specially-rented flat in Plymouth for the duration of the project.


Agile deployed for maximum value captured

Aligned with the most powerful elements of agile philosophy, pages of the new site were released almost immediately, alongside the old site, with no clunky, delayed or high-stress site changeover. User stories were deployed and new functionality released quickly and often. Students featured in the user testing, giving feedback on prototypes and validating features before moving into development.


What our client had to say

Paul Westmore | Interim CIO | Plymouth University

“Getting core elements of the site out early allowed us to gain feedback, make changes and importantly continue to add functionality early and often, confident that everything that had gone before had been user accepted. Releasing the whole site in one go would have been risky, and meant unacceptable delays to presenting students with a true image of Plymouth University life.”

An easier accessible platform for prospective users

A custom CMS was developed in Ruby on Rails to meet student and staff requirements of the platform, making content and navigation more easily accessible, especially on mobile and tablet. A new website content strategy and process were then implemented to overcome the challenges of reducing down their 10,000+ pages of content. During the development phase, our team coached and upskilled the internal Plymouth University in Ruby on Rails development, enabling Unboxed to slowly move away from day-to-day development, transitioning to a fully in-house development team going forward.

What our client had to say

Paul Westmore | Interim CIO | Plymouth University

“Unboxed has helped us to create a far more attractive and appealing shop-window for Plymouth University, and one which we are starting to see the benefits of. The Agile process has also assisted us to be much more efficient internally and learning about the agile method of delivering projects has been of great value - one that we will continue to see the benefit of once the website project has come to an end.”