Cambridge Open Engage

How a user interacts with a site is as important as how it looks.

The challenge

In the world of academia, expectations that access to scholarly research is open to all are increasing. Cambridge University Press recognised an opportunity to support the academic community by building their own content repository which is free to use with content that is free to access.
The Press approached Make it Clear (MiC) to help with the brand identity and the end-to-end user experience. Aligning with the Press design principles and Cambridge Core branding, the visual identity and the User Experience (UX) of the site itself were vital parts of the design process. A co-creation panel including Press stakeholders and members of the research audience was created to collaborate on ideas and opportunities related to the development of the platform. This process helped to ensure a user-centric focus on the UX.

The process

In order to understand what would be required from users of the site, MiC worked with the co-creation panel and Press stakeholders to define user stories and user journeys, identifying key pages, the information architecture and wireframes. We then ran the first round of user testing to assess the wireframes. The results of this testing informed a number of changes to the initial structure of the site. After the wireframes were finalised, MiC created design concepts for the UI of the new site.

Upon agreeing on the UI designs with the Press, a second round of remote user testing sessions were carried out. These sessions trialled a prototype version of the site with members of the Press’ user research testing panel. These sessions helped to identify both strengths and weaknesses in the prototype and informed further improvements ahead of the site development which was conducted by the Press’ internal teams.

The result

Cambridge Open Engage demonstrates the forward-thinking, digitally-focused nature of Cambridge University Press. The website launched in early April 2020, being warmly received by the community. So far, the site has had 204 pieces of live content uploaded, 47,101 abstract views and 18,843 content downloads.

Vicky Drummond, Director of Online Customer Experience for Academic, commented that “after years of working with Make it Clear, we’ve enjoyed collaborating on this project and we’re pleased with the positive response to the launch of Cambridge Open Engage.”

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