User Experience (UX) service

What we mean by design

To design something well, it's important to understand your users' needs.

‘Design’ can mean different things to different people, including:

  • visual - what something looks like
  • editorial – how something is written
  • functional - how something works

These elements can all apply to anything that you are designing – digital spaces, physical products, or services.

Design goes way broader and way deeper than a graphical user interface. At the root of it all, it's about how the University and its users and customers interact. Technology moves fast, but the needs of our audiences and businesses less so. Good design starts with these needs and keeps them at the heart of the solution. 

Neil Allison

Our focus is  on digital products, and it’s important to have a consistent approach to designing these. This doesn’t mean everything will look the same – one of our core principles is ‘consistency, not uniformity’.

Read our principles in full

How to approach the design process so you create something usable.

This includes:

  • phased activity plans
  • self-assessment tools

Designing design

It’s important that we follow our own advice, so we use the human-centred processes in the Design System when we create and evolve elements of the Design System itself.

The human-centred approach

Before you start designing anything, it’s important to know:

  • who is going to use it
  • what will they use in for
  • what situation they will use it in

This is a human-centred approach.

This means we take time to understand the problems faced by people who use our system, product or process, from a range of perspectives, before we create a solution.

Our design process is split into three phases, during which we explore user needs and prototype to make sure we design the right thing in the right way.

Who is the process for?

Using a design system encourages  a uniform approach to creating services and systems, which increases consistency and efficiency.

 We create services and systems that meet evidenced needs from real people. This way we create useful products and services that people can use easily. 

Service owners, designers, project managers and business analysts can find a toolkit of techniques for:

  • learning about user needs
  • designing solutions and testing them
  • testing throughout the process of developing a system or service.

Design phases