The Office of External Affairs and Communications and University Information Services built new web templates and components for use by University of Cambridge websites in February 2013.

The templates were built in response for the need to:

  • allow our sites to be accessible from mobile devices
  • update the existing templates with forward-looking technologies (responsive design) that have the aim of future proofing University of Cambridge websites for the next 5-10 years
  • update the look and feel of our sites
  • align multiple sites which fall under the banner of the University to a consistent look and feel

The contract for designing and building the new templates and components was awarded to Head London. This was after shortlisting and interviewing three design agencies from a pool of 11 who tendered.


In 2008 we produced new web templates with the goal of making our sites more consistent and contemporary whilst maintaining a coherent visual and functional link to our previous website. These templates needed updating to refresh the visual style of our sites and to make them responsive to the variety of mobile devices now in use.

Our websites are devolved across 150 Departments, Faculties and Schools (our Colleges are not part of this project). Our websites' content includes over 1.6 million web pages and 10,000 pieces of video and audio spread across over 900 web servers.

This devolution supports the University as a 'self-governed community of scholars' but it leads to inconsistencies in how our sites look and function. We would like to reduce these inconsistencies, and push our sites forward functionally so that they are fit for purpose over the next 5 to 10 years. In particular we expect our sites to work well on as many devices as possible, and retrofitting responsive design into the current templates is proving impossible.

The University has to support a flexible approach to web publishing, but there is an urgent need to amplify and make achievable the best online experience possible.

The University's web presence needs to reflect the status of the University as a world-class, cutting-edge institution. It needs to be attractive to potential research funders and donors, new recruits, alumni, and the general public. At the very minimum, we need the appearance of a joined-up University.

Feedback and questions

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