University of the Arts London

University of the Arts London (UAL) is among the world’s leading universities for Art and Design. As well as an extensive programme of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, UAL also offers short courses and language courses to more than 20,000 students each year.

These students have high expectations of the ecommerce experience and UAL realised that they needed to present a world class offering to entice and retain the interest of not only students, but the agents that book foreign students onto UAL courses.

The Challenge

A redesign of the UAL website by the in-house team required the additional expertise of a team that could offer substantial experience of designing ecommerce solutions for educational institutions and understand the user journeys and business considerations that this involves.

Having seen City Lit’s Magento solution and the superb customer experience this affords the user, UAL appointed us to work with their team on a cohesive approach to deliver an integrated ecommerce solution for Short Courses Ltd and the Language Centre within the existing university website.

Our Solution

Drawing on our previous experience we quickly got to grips with the user types, customer journeys, business rules and the concurrent, in-house main website redesign to deliver a flexible, streamlined ecommerce solution.

road leading away into the distance

Working closely with the UAL team through this project ensured rapid progress and collaborative working.

We agreed a joint development philosophy, encompassing Foundation for the front end framework and Atomic design methodology.

Understanding users is at the heart of any good customer journey design.

Our methodology encompasses defining user types and journeys with customer journey mapping, workshops, interviews and incorporating business rules to define what the customer experience should be.


The importance of legality, language and accessibility within educational institutions was a key consideration within the project.

An appreciation of the architecture of the organisation informed how we transitioned Short Courses and the Language Centre from disparate parts of the organisation into a cohesive solution.

The Result

Bold decision-making based on our extensive experience afforded us the confidence to propose decision-based solutions at an early stage, leading to efficient project delivery.

From understanding users right through to user testing labs, we were able to move this project along quickly and deliver template and component designs in a short timeframe.

This has allowed UAL to deploy a new website that offers a superb customer journey for undergraduates, postgraduates and those seeking to book onto a short course or language course. Where the likes of Amazon and Google are setting user expectations, we are enabling our clients to meet these high standards for their customers.