Snapshot of all UK University homepages

Mosaic of UK university homepages

I’ve created a snapshot of all UK university homepages on 3 July 2014. It gives a good idea of current trends in higher education homepage design. All the screenshots can be seen in this Flickr album. You can click on any of the thumbnails in the album to see a larger version.

Long vertical homepages get a raw deal in this way of presenting them, but I can’t think of a way to address that easily yet. The screenshots were created on a Windows 7 machine, at 1280 x 1020 resolution.

Method

I couldn’t find a tool to do this for me, so I’ve set up a few steps to allow me to easily grab a similar snapshot at any point in the future. It would be interesting to see how all the homepages are presented at particular times of the year – A level results day would be a good example.

The list of sites came from this page of 134 Universities UK members.

I’ve spread the links across three Booksmarks folders in Firefox. I can then open all links in a folder in Firefox as individual tabs (this is why it’s spread across three folders, my browser was struggling with 134 tabs open).

With all the links from a folder open in individual tabs, I use Fireshot Pro to capture all the homepages in one go as jpgs.

I then repeat these steps for the two other folders leaving me with 134 full resolution screenshots of the entire pages.

These images are then batch processed in Photoshop with a custom action to give them a 5 pixel black border (otherwise, when I upload them to Flickr, the amount of whitescreen makes it very difficult to differentiate them).

I’ve then uploaded them to Flickr and added them to an Album so that they can be seen together using their infinite scroll gallery.

It shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes to repeat the process in the future.

If you need any help doing similar let me know. Or, even better, if you can improve on this method, I’d love to hear from you!

Billy

Billy

Web Manager for the College of Arts and Law at the University of Birmingham.

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