Colleges live or die by the quality of their websites. Or not. Regardless, here’s an arbitrary and judgy list ranking them all for your reading pleasure:
1st – Univ – 10/10
The clear winner. Somehow manages to make the blue and yellow colour scheme look tasteful rather than horrible, which it objectively is. Clear interface that doesn’t make me feel like I’m completing some weird Crystal Maze challenge when navigating between pages.
2nd – Teddy Hall – 9/10
Marked down only for overlaying text right over a student’s face in their primary promo picture. Felt obliged to take off points just so he can obtain some sort of justice.
3rd – Jesus – 8/10
Perfectly good except that each page of text feels the need to introduce itself with a huge capital letter, like they’re the venerable Bede writing out intricate history rather than writing a paragraph on the importance of the JCR pool table.
4th – St Anne’s – 8/10
An excellent website. Yes, this is my college. No, I’m not biased.
5th – Queen’s – 7.5/10
The choice of an orange, red, AND yellow colour scheme was bold, but also a bit shit.
6th – St John’s – 7.5/10
Magdalen Street Tesco pays them rent. Of course, they have a decent website.
7th – Balliol – 7/10
Corporate but sleek. Calls its ‘Notable Alumni’ page ‘Remarkable Alumni’, in a smug self-satisfied way that brought it lower on the list than it probably deserves.
8th – Magdalen – 7/10
Annoyingly tasteful. I also noticed within the ‘Catering’ page that they employ someone whose job title is ‘Deputy Butler’. Is this the lifestyle a deer park can buy for you?
9th – Christ Church – 7/10
Designed more for tourists than prospective students, with an entire section devoted to ‘Visitors’. We get it, you have a gift shop.
10th – Mansfield – 6.5/10
Acceptable overall despite the inexplicable use of magenta pink in the menu tabs.
11th – St Hugh’s – 6.5/10
I would insert a “ha-ha, is Hugh’s even a college?” joke here, but the website is too bland for mockery. Is this how comedy dies?
12th – St Peter’s – 6/10
Nice use of calming green, but drastically marked down for declaring (in bold!) on its dining page that “pyjamas are not appropriate attire” for eating in hall, a statement which I hope offends the dignity of every student who reads it.
13th – St Hilda’s – 6/10
Has a ‘make a gift’ tab: Hilda’s, I get that you used to be a women’s college but there’s no need to beg for cash.
14th – Brasenose – 6/10
Inexcusable use of Garamond font. Also has a page titled ‘Tax-efficient giving’, in which under the ‘Legacies’ subheading it suggests that “leaving a gift to a charity like BNC can reduce inheritance tax liability’. Hmm!
15th – Regent’s Park – 6/10
For a place that usually only comes up in conversation when considering which Oxford colleges would be Pointless answers, this website isn’t bad.
16th – Corpus – 5.5/10
Forgettable, rather like the college it represents. Why are the pictures so huge?
17th – New – 5.5/10
18th – Merton – 5.5/10
Oddly aggressive use of capital letters. ‘LIFE AT MERTON. SPORTS REPORTS’. Felt like I was being shouted at, but maybe this aggression is what gets them to the top of the Norrington Table.
19th – St Benet’s – 5/10
The fact that the menu tabs overrun into two unnecessary and awkward rows was too grating to ignore.
20th – Worcester – 5/10
Has a rather tragic page devoted to ‘Merchandise’, where they attempt to flog Christmas cards and calendars. Having a lake isn’t everything, folks.
21st – Exeter – 4.5/10
Made the bizarre choice of overlaying every picture with a dark gloomy filter. Looks like a 2014 ‘grunge’ tumblr page.
22nd – Hertford – 4/10
Enormous banner and menu tabs at the top of the page cut the screen in half and make it hard to read anything. An unpleasant user experience that I’m too angry with to joke about it.
23rd – LMH – 4/10
Their homepage displays not a picture slideshow but a self-important video. Can only ascribe this to the Malala Effect.
24th – Lincoln – 3.5/10
Web designer way too over-enthusiastic with the use of animations and blue filters. Who needs the Avatar sequels when the experience is perfectly recreated here?
25th – Trinity – 3/10
The ‘make a gift’ button was egregious on Hilda’s site, but even more so here when Trinity has £420,000 of assets per student versus Hilda’s measly £199,000.
26th – Wadham – 3/10
The college is known for its individuality, progressive outlook, and style, so it’s nice to see that absolutely none of that is reflected in this bland green toilet paper of a site.
27th – St Catz – 2.5/10
Why is everything so blue? There are better ways to hide the 60s brutalism, you know.
28th – Somerville – 2.5/10
“If you want to change the world, come to Somerville” declares the homepage. Did they have infamous alumna Maggie T in mind when they wrote that? Probably not the best promo tactic, if so.
29th – Keble – 2/10
“I want to find someone,” begs the second slide of Keble’s homepage slideshow. Don’t we all, though I was disappointed to find the slide only linked to a page listing staff and fellows. Low on the list for reminding me of my own crippling loneliness.
30th – Pembroke- 1/10
A car crash. Looks like it was designed in Microsoft Word, then converted into a website (which given Pembroke’s financial troubles it may well have been). Fascinating use of capitalized Helvetica/Arial throughout, which makes it look 10 years older than it probably is. A worthy last place.