Better Things


Building an inclusive celebration of a year in the life of The Open University

The problem

The Open University wanted to accompany their printed annual report with an online showcase highlighting the best of the Open University. The showcase needed to uphold the University’s reputation for cutting edge in digital communications, whilst telling a story about the University’s achievements throughout the year.

The solution

Better Things worked with The Open University to develop a content strategy for the communication piece – defining a number of content categories and themes – and then started to develop a proposition for the Showcase site.

We wanted to tell the story of the University’s achievements – both from the point of view of the organisation itself, but also through stories collected from the individuals who make up the university – students, alumni, lecturers and academics. We did this via social media, by pulling in ‘snapshot’ stories in the form of Tweets, Audioboos, blog content and YouTube videos.

We also created a more formal features area of the website for longer content pieces.

The whole site was built according to responsive design practices, meaning that the site is optimised for multiple devices, from smartphones to tablets to wide-screen monitors. We used a block-driven, horizontal layout design. This utilised JQuery Masonry to enable the use of sticky-note style blocks for individual pieces of content – pieces of content that automatically order themselves according to the browser size; and we introduced a non-chronological content order – reflecting the latest thinking behind website design embraced by sites such as Pinterest, Nouveau, Quora and


OU 1

OU 2

OU 4 OU 5 OU 3