The Brief

National Energy Action and British Gas are partnered and invested in helping UK communities to tackle the causes and symptoms of UK fuel poverty. They had great succees in 2016 taking their knowledgebase and staff out into communites and spreading practical knowledge, advice and information via roadshows, meetups and community events and decided to scale up the positive results by making their research and community engagement techniques available to consumers and support workers via a website.

Research & Understanding

We gained a good understanding of the subject matter, industry sector, overall mission, prior challenges, project goals and target audience personas before beginning to think of ways that we could tackle the project. Rather than selling a product or promoting a brand we were tasked with spreading information in the most digestible format possible and had to be sensitive to various levels of expertise and intentions amongst the audience.

Proposals & Specification

As the research stage progressed we put forward proposals for features, structure, content and design approaches that addressed all of the core project goals. Working closely with NEA and British Gas to produce a comprehensive strategy, sitemap, content plan and well-considered UX flow we moved onto the preliminary design phase and started to explore different layouts.

Wireframing & Design

Once we had agreed on wireframe layouts for each page we fleshed out the design and presented it to NEA and British Gas. After a couple of design revisions we had finalised the UI, style and images giving the team a good, shared vision of what the final website would be like, including what each page's purpose was in terms of conversion outcome. During the remainder of the project the specification and design sheets served as collaborative blueprints.

Content, SEO & CRO

During the early stages we edited all of the text content and it was integrated into the wireframe designs using inbound marketing methodology to map audience personas to content types. We had a clear vision of the user goal of each page which helped us to keep the content focused and purposeful. Several CRO and SEO factors were also taken into account and the content as a whole underwent a few revisions until the teams were happy with it. As the build progressed we entered everything into the content manangement system.

Development

Using agile project methodology allowed NEA to decide the order in which we worked on each aspect of the project, setting the team's build focus by choosing exactly what features we worked on during every development sprint. By using this approach NEA were involved right from the start on almost every aspect, exempting some of the purely technical development matters.

In order to facilitate good team involvement we held weekly video meetings that gave members and stakeholders a chance to input on progress and review completed work. The weekly meetings proved invaluable because they accidentally gave rise to several great feature ideas.

Testing & Feedback

Towards the end of the development phase we ran video tracking and user feedback software that helped us to identify and fix bugs in the UI and content flow - NEA and British Gas team members assisted in the testing which helped us to quickly flush out problems.

Hosting & Infrastructure

We set up a security hardened cloud infrastructure that is able to scale vertically and horizontally and features various monitoring and backup capabilities. The final website project had provisioning and deployment functionality built in, making it easy to migrate, maintain and recover.

Additional Marketing

To help NEA and British Gas promote the website at their roadshows and conferences we produced two animated explainer videos. The first video marketed the overall fuel poverty tackling project (Community Action Partnership) and introduced the website, the second video showed some of the primary website features, intended audience and potential outcomes.

Analytics & Monitoring

As well as keeping an eye on the health of the system we track statistical visitor information to inform decisions about the website. We provide NEA with periodical overviews of the traffic in order to help them decide on the focus for their ongoing content marketing campaigns.

System Training

We like clients to be comfortable using their websites, so as part of the project we produced a set of instructional training videos detailing website administration procedures such as creating and editing pages within the CMS, adding sections, updating images etc. We also held a training day at NEA HQ during which we went through some of the video lessons "hands on" with NEA's content team in order to give them confidence using the system and practical starting points.

Conclusions

Ultimately what makes a project special is the people involved and relationships formed. We enjoyed the project immensely and found the National Energy Action and British Gas teams to be lovely, genuine, hard working people fighting a worthwhile cause. Please visit them and get involved in tackling UK fuel poverty yourself!

"Thank you so much everyone. A bit challenging from a technology point of view but my stakeholders were really impressed."

Hayley Grocock | British Gas

"I'm so glad we had you working on this with us. I don't think it would have been possible otherwise."

Lorraine Donaldson | National Energy Action

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