About this site

This is the University of Oxford's main public facing website (OxWeb). It is managed and maintained by the University's Public Affairs Directorate.

Pages within this site will have addresses that look like this: www.ox.ac.uk, www.ox.ac.uk/directory/ or www.ox.ac.uk/page.html.


There are some important points to clarify that will explain why, as you browse through more of the site, its appearance and navigation are not consistent:

  • Oxford is a collegiate University, there are 38 Colleges and 6 Permanent Private Halls.  Each is independent and self-governing.  Each runs and maintains its own website, each website will look different.
  • There are four academic Divisions within the University and a fifth for Continuing Education, once more these are all self-governing and run and maintain their own websites.
  • Under each Division are Faculties, Departments, Schools, Institutes, Foundations and Centres.  Most run and maintain their own websites.
  • All academic services, libraries, museums and collections run and maintain their own websites.
    All these addresses will look like this: www.name.ox.ac.uk or just name.ox.ac.uk
  • Pages that are primarily about University administration are managed by IT Services (formerly Business Services and Projects).
    The addresses will look like this: www.admin.ox.ac.uk/name/


In total there are more than a thousand sites that together make up the University's overall web presence.  This means that there will be neither visual nor organisational consistency but that there will be individuality, independence and ingenuity in abundance, characteristics that the University of Oxford is renowned for and has always encouraged.

Accessibility

The central site has been designed to conform to the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) guidelines. For more information please see the Accessibility Statement for this site. A separate document details the University's Accessibility Standard for Websites.

Search and Maps

The University uses a Google Search Appliance, accessible through the search box in the header of all pages.

This central site uses Google Maps.

Contacting a webmaster

If you have any comments or suggestions about any of the University's websites, please use the contact/enquiries link at the bottom of each web page. This will send a mail to the relevant webmaster of that site, please note there are many webmasters in the University, make sure that you click the link on the site that you have the query about.

Site Design

This central site was designed by Torchbox. It has been optimised for:
PC - Firefox 3 and 2, IE 7 and IE 6, Google Chrome 1
Mac - Firefox 3 and 2 and Safari 3 and 2


University of Oxford oxweb project

Oxford’s website is probably the most visited university website in the UK, attracting more than 1.4 million visits per month of which 800,000 are unique visitors. 

‘Oxweb’ comprises the top-level pages of the website and its primary purpose is to act as the public face of the University, providing information to a range of audiences including prospective students and staff, visitors and the general public, and showcasing Oxford’s world-class research. It also includes two sites with a specific internal focus: the Staff Gateway and the Student Gateway.

Oxweb was last redeveloped in 2007, when it was redesigned and migrated to a new content management system (CMS). Since then, new functionality has been added including e-newsletters and audio and video. In order to ensure that oxweb remains an effective and engaging means of communication in the future, it is necessary to refresh its design and architecture so that people can find what they are looking for quickly and easily, but are also encouraged to stay and browse thanks to news stories and research features. We also need to ensure that when people visit our website on smartphones or tablets the pages look good and the user has the best possible experience.

The scope of the project

Local digital agency Torchbox are working with the University to deliver this project. The main sites that are within the scope of the project include the homepage, Undergraduate and Graduate admissions, news, and the Staff and Student Gateways.

The phases of the project

Phase 1 of the project is underway and will cover defining audience needs, analysis of what our competitors are doing, and research into the most common search terms that people use when looking for information on our website and Google. It will result in a new information architecture – ie the pathways taken by visitors to the site in order to find what they are looking for – and proposals for the design of the website.

Phase 2 will include the implementation of the new design in the Drupal CMS and the migration of existing web content.

Members of the University can see project-related documents, follow the project blog and volunteer to take part in user research and testing here: sharepoint.nexus.ox.ac.uk/sites/eap/pad/oxweb/. You will need your single sign-on to enter the site.