City Lit

City Lit is Europe’s largest centre for adult education, with over 30,000 students taking more than 5,000 courses in the daytime, evening and weekend at a purpose-built £21 million centre in Covent Garden. Since 1919 City Lit has offered a wide variety of courses, from History to Health, and Computing to Culture.

The Challenge

City Lit asked us to design a new site to support their new branding and cope with increasing demand. Users needed to be able to find courses more easily, using a variety of search queries. City Lit wanted to help students make their buying decision by providing more information on courses, news and events. The site had to be responsively built to provide a compelling experience to web, mobile and tablet users. It was also key that version control and multiple access levels were available to manage the mass of content being maintained.

Our Solution

After auditing City Lit’s existing content we held story-mapping workshops to identify key user journeys. We then set about developing a solution that combines the ecommerce power of Magento with the content management prowess of Drupal.

The thriving new website continues to see new features and functionality, such as self-service support through automated refunds and transfers and waiting lists and the introduction of gift vouchers.


The bold new design allows for rich media content to be woven throughout the site with an information architecture enabling users to find material quickly and checkout easily.

A mobile-first design approach ensures an excellent experience across all platforms.

Graphic depicting insight plus data equals results

As with all projects, we know that the work is never done and part of the continuous optimisation of this website was an investigation into how the checkout process was affecting conversion rates. We used insights gained from investigative work into the customer journey to design A/B tests to make marked improvements in conversion.

Students can buy multiple courses at a time, and their course history is recorded on their personal account. It’s possible to find courses by category, the time of day that suits you, or the price. In the first month after launching the new site, traffic on the site had more than doubled against the previous year.

Gift vouchers are now available to purchase online, opening up courses to those who may never have even considered taking such a course before.

The new site has received plaudits from students and staff alike. Students love the new design and find it easier to find and book courses, while staff have more control to manage the information supporting their courses and subject areas.