Young Academy of Scotland

Growing a network.

In 2018 we worked with the Royal Society of Edinburgh to breathe new life into their website, a project which was very well received, from that, we were invited back to the RSE to pitch for a redesign and build of their Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) website.

“YAS delivers projects to help Scotland’s people and policy-makers build a future that is equal, enterprising, sustainable, healthier, smarter and international. By sharing our expertise and research, we investigate pressing social issues, inform public debate, amplify marginalised voices, and drive transformational change.” We were incredibly excited to take on this project, as not only is it an important and inspiring organisation, it’s part of a growing global network of Young Academies, with 134 members in Edinburgh alone.


In terms of design, this was a really exciting project for us as we got to rebrand YAS as well as design the website. We pitched a total of 3 brand options, each with different combinations of colours, graphics and logo elements designed to highlight YAS’s diverse, welcoming and exciting nature. The final designs use vibrant blues and greens contrasting with pastel yellows and pinks, and paired with bold headings and abstract images.

After running a discovery workshop with the team at YAS, we found that one of the most important features for their end users was easy access to latest news and events. As well as being able to run a search. We achieved this by first, breaking the navigation into two – on top we have a supernav of sorts, with an easy to use search bar, donate button and membership login button. The main navigation displays the full logo and pages in white on top of a colourful image, and collapses on scroll to a black band with the secondary view of the logo. We then added a sidebar to the right hand side of the pages which contains useful links such as the latest news feature.


Due to the fact that the Young Academy of Scotland already had an existing website, which was full of content, the development of the new site meant one thing – data migration. There was a great deal to think about, including users, user data, news posts, articles, comments, blog posts, archived news, public news and so on. To complicate matters, we were migrating from Joomla! To WordPress, which while both systems are php and MySQL based, can still prove to be tricky. This trickiness was mainly due to the way the data had been organised on the old site – some posts were not actually blog posts, they just happened to exist in that database table. We felt like we needed to start with a level playing field and begin from a point of understanding what the data actually looked like. So how did we do that? With spreadsheets! We took the approach of exporting everything we could to .CSV files, which allowed us to open this complex dataset inside an interface which could firstly handle the amount of data, but secondly allowed us the move and pivot through the data with ease. A clean, shiny, organised dataset was soon produced and imported into the WordPress installation, ready for YAS to use going forward.


Marie Montondo – “We’re loving our new website so far!  Much easier to use and keep updated.”