Student Hut

User Research, Design, Front-end development
Trip Advisor for universities. Student Hut is a website aimed at current, previous and potential students. Students can view reviews and rate all parts of life at uni.

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What is it

Student Hut is a hub for students to review Universities, Cities, Nightlife and Accomodation. It allows current and graduated students to leave reviews on their University, or City for other potential students to read which helps them make the right decision.

Due to the pandemic, the focus has shifted more toward a mental health hub for students, and research provider for Universities to help make the best decisions for their students.

A Student panel was introduced, where students can collect points in exchange for completing surveys, which in turn they can gain Amazon vouchers.

Student hut home page

My role

Tasked with redesigning and rebuilding the front-end was quite a nice job, due to having maintained this site in the past. The old site was built with drupal and by 5 different development companies, from 3 different countries, so the front-end was... a bit of a state. Each page had its own CSS file with IDs for absolutely everything, nested as much as you can go, making it an absolute nightmare to maintain.

We avoided using a framework purposefully for this site, as it would've been overkill. The front-end is straight up HTML, CSS and Javascript, which meant page speeds were nice and quick, scoring very highly on Google Page Speed. Recently, however, this has dropped due to an influx of advertisments / tracking scripts being placed on the site for revenue.

Previous student hut home page
Old home page
Redesigned student hut home page
Redesigned home page

What I've learnt

Not everything needs to be built with a javascript framework! This quite large site didn't need a large framework even though it was discussed, eventually we passed on that as it didn't particularly need one as data isn't that reactive and reviews are actually approved before going live, so this isn't an issue either.

What would I do differently

More user research before launch would have been ideal, it would have caught a few issues with the sign up process being a bit long and sometimes confusing depending on options selected.