Discover Uni

The OfS (office for students) is the independent regulator of universities in the UK, they run Discover Uni a website to provide impartial data about student perceptions and graduate outcomes across all courses and institutions in the UK. Their mission is to provide students with all necessary information they need to make an impartial and informed decisioon about what to study at university. In 2022 we started working with them to help the user experience of the landing page and refresh its visual style, in addition to this the internal discover uni team had already identified a number of user journeys that needed attention.

User Research

UX design

Interactive Design


Office for Students





Discover Uni serves multiple audiences, helping students through one of the most complex decisions they will make in their lives whilst also providing information to the teachers, advisors, parents and carers who support them. We began our engagement by diving deeply into these different user types, building an understanding of their needs and behaviours regarding the site. We combined qualitative data gathered from interviewing prospective students with a review of previous research studies and existing site analytics. Alongside demographic differences, we found that the student’s position in their application has a big say in how they behave on the site. From initially considering higher education, through researching and shortlisting options, down to finally making decisions; each context requires a unique support system, and different information to be provided. In addition we discovered that there’s a broad spectrum of how proactive potential students are. This strongly influences how much additional guidance is required to effectively convey the information the students need. Our initial research let us map out the key moments where we could have an impact, and prioritise areas where the site could better help students. Targeted redesign and user testing features for students. We consistently heard from students at an early stage in their journey that the ‘course search’ box could be daunting, as they were often still exploring whether they wanted to go into higher education, and if so, what their options were. Students didn’t need a search box, they needed possibilities they recognised. Working with the Discover Uni team we prototyped a ‘subject guide’ feature, which let users browse through categories of courses, find out more about them and understand what careers they could lead onto. Working in close collaboration with the content experts at the OfS we created multiple low fidelity prototypes and an exercise for our research participants to help prioritise the information they wanted to see. Through our lean user testing approach I was quickly able to incorporate an appealing design language, and an effective scheme for prioritising information, efficiently leading to high fidelity website variants based on these findings. Making home, navigation and search work for a diverse audience In addition to the subject guides feature, we identified that the homepage and navigation weren’t serving the diverse user group as well as they could, nor expressing the full value of Discover Uni at first viewing. As the primary journey for most users, the search bar and subsequent results worked well for some users, but not those in the early stages of decision making. As a site built by a changing team over a number of years it had also suffered from incremental tinkering, without a holistic review or update. The user contexts provided the perfect lens to understand the competing priorities for the homepage, nav and search journey. By combining data gathered from collaborative workshops with user research, we developed a relative priority order for different use cases, resulting in a reweighting of the importance of various items on the page. At the same time, we rethought search, adding multiple search ‘modes’ to the existing course search. In future, users will be able to search by location, course, subject and institution, better serving their diverse information needs. Project completed in collaboration with Brett Thornton & Joni Mortimer at Loomery


Re-design of search
Homepage refresh
New information architecture and content
Insititution pages
New search results page

Other works