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University of Brighton's Hospitality department provide a range of services for students at the University, including accommodation, food & beverages and conferencing & community liaison. We were asked to develop a website for the food & beverage services. This department manages a variety of food and drink outlets across Sussex, with a key focus on healthy, tasty seasonal menus that are suitable for all to enjoy made with quality ingredients from local suppliers.
The University has been housed in Brighton for over 100 years. Today with sites reaching from Brighton to Eastbourne and Hastings, its 20,700 students benefit from a forward thinking and diverse education right across our beautiful Sussex coastline.
The University required a student-centred site, which not only showcased the strong ethos behind the food being served, but also delivered up to the minute information on unique daily offerings and ever-changing menus.
Our client had some great ideas which we were keen to include, so after re-working the initial plans to include these ideas, we were able to start the complex development phase.
At Accommodation and Hospitality Services in the University of Brighton, we've used Nexus to help put our Food and Drink arm online. We have 18 cash outlets split over 5 campuses in the South East - these outlets provide varied options daily and it's always been a struggle to effectively communicate and market the service to our customers. Nexus has been able to help direct us with clear advice and experience.
They helped us design and create a stunning dynamic website with features that are simple and functional. It means our outlet teams can jump in and update menus daily – then print for counter display with less than an hour’s training. It’s also given us the ability to run campaigns, create pages for new content and market our sustainability goals.
The key focus of the site was on the usability of the CMS, because the staff would need to login and update the menus regularly throughout the term. Our developer Steve, created a simplified access level to his CMS model, enabling the staff and food outlet owners to log on with ease. In terms of usability for the front end, a lot of thought went into how and when students would need to access information about lunch or dinner. Considering students are regularly rushing in and out of lectures and are not based at a fixed location, it made sense to design the website mobile first to ensure the very best user experience on a mobile device.
The social element was also crucial, so we included features that would enable users to rate and share the daily menus with friends, thus promoting the variety of options served at each outlet. As the site progressed, the project team visited all 13 outlets across Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings. This gave them valuable insights into the varying features, which helped structure the design for each of the relevant sub-pages. New ideas evolved throughout the project the more we got to know our audience. For example, we implemented a feature to inform the users when a particular outlet is open or closed at the time they are online and also where a nearby vending machine is, should the required outlet be closed.
Throughout the project, our aim was to support and assist the students as much as possible, whilst striving to keep a clean, fresh design with straightforward usability. The team really enjoyed working on this project, not least for of the positive feedback received upon launch of the site. We've seen the menus populated with delicious options and the social feeds are working really well, with a variety of images, information and re-tweets from students.
We can now support our social media channels and give our team and customers a place to learn about what we do. We can’t wait to see how this website grows with us and look forward to working with Nexus in the future.