Users can search the qualifax site easily.

Qualifax: Making information easy for Ireland’s learners

Quality & Qualifications Ireland
Higher Education
User Experience

There is an art to taking an information-heavy website that is hefty with text and turning it into a sleek, gorgeous, easy-to-use service. This is exactly what we delivered for Qualifax. The new website makes information better for the hundreds of thousands of people who use it every year. And it won the Education Website of the Year award in the 2024 National Digital Awards.

Background is a “one stop shop” for impartial course information and is a well-used resource for students and the guidance sector in the advising of further and higher education options. 

Besides course information, users can also look up entry requirements, CAO points, career events, accommodation advice and student supports. 

Traditionally has around 500,000 users annually. Part of the strategic priority of Quality and Qualifications Ireland, who manage the Qualifax website, was better information for learners. 

The design phase was a crucial part of this project. The old website was incredibly text-heavy and overwhelming for users. There were about 20,000 courses and about 300 events that needed to be accommodated, and thus migrated to Drupal from its legacy Joomla CMS. 

Plus the team had been using a set of highly bespoke tools and workflows for the past 15 years with little change in that time. 

The new, responsive Qualifax website works across devices.

Qualifax's new website is vibrant, clean and works across all devices.

Qualifax rebranded to the vibrant colour palette that can be seen on the new site part-way through the project, and as a result the design phase was extended beyond what was originally planned. But the result is a striking website that relies on colour, imagery and a sophisticated search tool to draw the users in and intuitively help them find the information they are looking for.


The Qualifax site was designed to be accessible, and considerable research went into ensuring it would offer a great user experience. has a mobile-friendly layout – perfect for the thousands of young people who visit the site. The new site was stripped back to allow for a simple, seamless search from the outset. The simple, sans serif typography makes for easy reading. 

For a website whose purpose is to provide information the design includes very few words, relying instead on colour, images and icons to attract and focus the user’s attention. 

The flat design allows for easy presentation of the information, and allows the user to move seamlessly through the site, scanning for the information they want. 

The site’s architecture was pared down immensely, from a massive amount of overwhelming information to a simple design that hinges on a sophisticated Solr search for both the massive course library (more than 15,000 constantly updated courses) and the popular events calendar. 

All course data and career events on the site are populated from a database. This data is updated annually by QQI staff who gather the data from the course providers and upload the data to the website.

The custom migration of about 20,000 courses and 300-odd events was complicated and massive. But it was all completed on time.

Annertech was contracted to Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) to modernise the longstanding learner course information website Qualifax. The Annertech team was systematic, professional and on time throughout the stages of redevelopment from research through to launch of the new site. QQI now has an intuitive, modern, user and mobile friendly site with comprehensive searchable course information for learners and their supporters.

– Angela Lambkin, Head of Qualifications Information and Learning Opportunities

New features include:

  • A CAO points calculator, created using custom Drupal code, which allows users to narrow down what they could feasibly study. 
  • The ability to like and share courses. Potential learners can tag courses for review later, and to allow for comparison. A user can also share their list of courses with themselves or others to allow for further research and discussion offsite. These features are made available via a familiar heart icon on each course, and a shortcut in the header area available at all times when courses are saved. 
  • An events calendar. This is an invaluable tool that allows users to find out when important events have been scheduled. These include important days in the general academic calendar as well as open days and dates for specific programmes.
  • A single search interface allows users to filter what matters to them specifically (such as county, course type or keywords).


Ireland’s national learners’ database is an essential tool that is updated constantly. Its users trust that it will give them a reliable, non-biased view of further and higher education options within Ireland. 

A responsive image of is displayed next to the words “Education website of the year“.

The new website allows users to: 

  • Search for courses (more than 15,000) to see what options are out there 
  • Explore an Information Hub about different learning paths 
  • Use helpful tools like the CAO points calculator, to calculate the points required for entry to courses from the results attained in school subjects 

Plus it was named Education Website of the Year at the 2024 National Digital Awards.'s performance is excellent – it has a GTmetrix Grade of A and a Lighthouse performance score of 98%. 

Its Web Vitals are great too:

  • 758ms for Largest Contentful Paint
  • Total Blocking Time of 66ms and 
  • Cumulative Layout Shift of 0.

Researching courses can be a long process of ideation, research, saving courses for later and rethinking options based on new information, and the Qualifax website aims to stay out of the way of this process to allow it flow without blocking it.

Key numbers

performance score
The number of content
pieces that were migrated
GT Metrix


The Qualifax website is a highly respected and important tool for researching further and higher education options in Ireland. 

The intuitive user experience makes sure that will deliver the value that a long-term user base has come to expect from it. 

We are thrilled that we were able to play a role in the future of hundreds of thousands of young people in Ireland, and hope that they enjoy using this website as much as we enjoyed creating it for them.

Has your website received any recognition lately? won the 2024 National Digital Award in the Education Website of the Year category. Let us know if you'd like the Annertech team to work on your website.