The previous content management system on The Student Room had limited functionality which did not enable the team to create content easily or consistently and a dated and uninspiring look and feel.


The previous CMS had several design issues which I wanted to fix in this project, these included reducing the clutter, increasing the type size and to ensure that all widgets were fl across desktop and mobile. 

I already had ideas on how to to improve the look and feel and how to make it more consistent with other site pages, but I wanted to explore what other sites our audience regularly visited so I conducted some competitor analysis and looked at a variety of different sites.

There was a limited amount of development budget to create the template so I needed to create a layout that was appealing, modern yet not complicated to build. 

For the designs I wanted to create a clean and more grown up look and feel than the previous CMS had. The focus of the CMS is to make sure the content stood out the most so I wanted the design to allow the content to be the most visible aspect. 


To make sure our users liked the new design we sent out two user surveys for feedback. In each of these surveys, respondents were presented with five article layouts – our own one and one from each of The Guardian, LadBible, The Tab and Shortlist. We asked people to rate each one out of 10 for its layout, and to tell us what they liked and didn’t like.


The first survey was hugely helpful because it told us we had more to do. In this poll, TSR’s new CMS template was rated at 5.8 – a rating that was in the middle of the five articles tested. The Tab came first with 7.1, The Guardian came last with 4.7.


So we took those survey responses and used them to refine the look of the article template. This week we put that fresh template into a new survey, alongside the four external articles used in the previous survey. This time, TSR came first, with an average rating of 7.8.


Graphic design
Logo and branding
Logo and branding