East Durham College desktop banner

East Durham College website

Education for all

East Durham College approached Fat Heads with an outdated site that was suffering from bloated content as well confusing navigation and content that was hard to use for the end user. 

The design was overhauled and recreated from the ground up specific to the requirements of the college marketing team, ensuring that course accessibility was the primary target of the site as well as appealing to the college’s target audiences, alert visitors to upcoming events, facilities and alumni testimonials. Within the redesign it was essential to completely restructure navigation, make it easier for a visitor to access information relative to them, restructure URLs, and at its core make it a simple task to apply for a course.

The College have a strong corporate identity and vast impressive image bank in place so this enabled us to create a fresh and inviting site design whilst ensuring that the site would compliment all of the great collateral that the marketing team already have in place using whichever devise they choose. 

The College were already using the Drupal Content Management System so it was an easy to reach decision that we implement the latest version of the platform due to its ease of use, open source codebase, in built security features and future scalability.

Services we provided

East Durham College website home page

Site structure

After investigating the old site and many problems that were evident in terms of page relationships, URL structures and usability we undertook an intense sub project to discuss how this could be simplified and navigation more intuitive for the end user.

A new sitemap was devised between Fat Heads and the College which also involved planning a strategy for URL path patterns that are dynamically created and describe the users current position in the site structure.

At an early stage we highlighted that the main emphasis of the new site was to get people to book courses in the quickest way possible, to ensure this we created a mobile first design that has:

  • Course finder at the top of every page;
  • Call to action for courses in the main navigation;
  • A strong emphasis on the college locations;
  • New intuitive course finder that is filterable by: Academic Year, Age Group, Attendance Mode, Course Level, Location and Subject Area;
  • Landing pages throughout for Course levels, Subject Areas, Age Groups, Distance Learning, E-Learning and other study options.
East Durham College website course finder page
East Durham College website locations


The Drupal Content Management System (CMS) that is now in place allows for the college to add administrators with varying levels of access. Implementing Access Control allows the College to ensure that administrators are limited to only tasks that are important to them.

Multi Factor Authentication is in place for users using the google Authenticator to provide an extra level of protection when logging into the CMS.

Users are logged out after a period of 15 minutes inactivity on the platform.

East Durham College website subject area page
East Durham College website testimonial background
Their understanding of ProSolution has been invaluable too. They don’t just ask for a standard csv file like other developers might - they actually understand how Pro works and what’s achievable, as well as how to cut down on ‘human’ input.
Alistair Cummins-MacLeod, Director of Student Experience, Engagement & Wellbeing, East Durham College
East Durham College website mobile view

ProSolution feeds

The new site imports data from a newly structured XML file that is exported from the College’s ProSolution software and imported every hour to the site.

East Durham College website landing pages
East Durham College website course page

Apprenticeship vacancies

An additional requirement from East Durham was to have an increased presence on the new site highlighting current apprenticeship vacancies to users.

Fat Heads built a bespoke importer using the GOV.UK portal API which imports and updates available positions daily.

To add an extra level of functionality to this element for the end user we ensured that placement locations were imported and displayed accordingly on a google map as this could be essential for a young person on getting to a location from their home.

East Durham College website apprenticeships page

Mega menus & landing pages

To increase inner page visibility we implemented a bespoke drop down mega menu across the site.

Because of the amount of content on the site we have created landing pages for sub menu options, ensuring that a user can navigate larger sections easily.

East Durham College website mega menu
East Durham College website testimonial background
To say we have been impressed by Fat Heads would be somewhat of an understatement. Throughout the whole process of our new website project they have been outstanding.
Daniel Curtis, Digital Marketing Coordinator, East Durham College

Knowledge base

In early research of the old East Durham site we noticed that a lot of useful information was present on the site but it wasn’t easily accessible. With this in mind we came up with the idea of a Frequently Asked Questions element that we branded the ‘Knowledge Base’.

This is a one stop shop for administrators to post information that are categorised by intended audience (can be individual, multiple, or all) and a dynamic tagging system.

Users also have the option of a free text search option should they know the element that they are searching for.

East Durham College website knowledge base page

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