One of the things we hear from many of our customers is that as the founder or sole employee, they are usually tied up with the day-to-day stresses and strains of their business – and so they struggle to find the time to update their websites.
This inspired us to came up with a solution.
We have developed a website managed content service, which we are launching today.
At the end of summer 2017, our founder, Michael Watts, spent some time with two consultants, Richard Hills and Mark Methven, looking at what a digital platform for health, social care and general wellbeing would look like in the future.
The idea was to scope out how local authorities and their health partners can work together to harness the power and flexibility of digital tools to:
achieve better life outcomes for residents
improve the early intervention and prevention model
support better integration
achieve efficiencies in money and staffing
build a better model of support around the individual to improve their wellbeing
After a couple of hours the three of them had come up with an initial 10 points. Over the a few weeks this was reshaped into 8 recommendations+.
The initial plan was to develop a document setting out the 8 points to be shared.
And that was when we got involved.
The more we reflected on it, the more we felt that a static document was not what was required to share a vision around what a digital platform should look like in the future. We felt that a vision for a new digital platform needed to be communicated via a digital platform.
We needed to design a platform which:
looked modern and current
‘walked the walk’
shared the vision clearly and simply
was interactive for the user
was based around the vision of the 3 authors
Read through our approach below to see how we worked with Richard and Mark to pull this together.
One of the complications of this project was something that we hit right at the beginning – how do we brand it?
The authors work for organisations heavily involved in the field of health and wellbeing; however, as the recommendations were the personal view of the authors and not necessarily the policy or view of their employers, we decided that we needed to create a bespoke, stand alone brand.
We felt that this would also give it control over its brand voice. It also gave us total control and freedom to create a brand which lived and breathed the project.
We played with a few different colour schemes. Some seemed to harsh. Some seemed to masculine. Some seemed to ‘techie’.
After much planning and thinking, we felt that the brand needed softer colours. Something which appealed beyond the typical tech world and something that the workforce across health and social care could resonate with.
We settled on a colour scheme of pinks and greys (both light and dark).
We chose this as pink conveys a feeling of universal love for oneself and others. It is associated with caring, compassion and tenderness – something that we wanted to emphasise through a project which could be seen as just for a tech audience, when in fact, it was designed to shift thinking across the whole workforce, which is predominantly female.
This is the colour scheme that we settled on:
Once we had a brand colour scheme, we started to consider what font scheme would suit the ‘brand voice’ that we wanted.
We wanted something fresh, different and something which did not feel like a local authority or health care style.
We also wanted something that was personalised and would stand out.
After much deliberating, and much testing, we settled on the following font scheme –
we went for a logo font which was unique and not typically digital, Crushed.
we mixed this with a header font of Robot Condensed
along with a body font of Roboto
We spent quite a while sketching ideas for a logo which achieved our goal of supporting the digital platform but which was also welcome, friendly and visually engaging to non-techie people.
We did some research of trends and didn’t really find anything that we liked.
After playing around with different formats and styles, we came up with the final logo design –
By turning the O in Platform into a mouse we were able to reflect the digital element but keep it friendly and resonate with the general public.
We also used the ‘O mouse’ as the site icon –
To reflect the brand voice more, and achieve our aim of engaging with non-techie people, we designed a range of digital icons which mixed a friendly digital tool with care and support.
We wanted the icons to be clean, simple and easy to understand.
These are some of the icons which we used –
We also developed a suite of images for page headings, author bios, and more:
For the website we decided very early on that it had to be:
simple to navigate
clean and clear
visually appealing and ‘breathing’ the brand voice
We designed a simple navigation which was shaped around the eight recommendations but which also told the story of the project along with details about the authors.
The structure we developed was –
One page per recommendation
The full briefing
Poster of the recommendations
Social media images
About the authors
Including a disclaimer about the recommendations
Get in touch
On all of the recommendation pages we embedded a simple feedback form so that people who are reading the content can engage with the authors and share their thoughts and ideas.
This is very much stage 1 of the website. We are currently working with the authors to develop stage 2 which will be to develop a ‘case studies’ section where we can promote examples of next practice*.
As part of the project we also developed a suite of non-website products to accompany the site.
1 – The full briefing
A PDF of the entire thought piece which can be downloaded, printed off and shared –
2 – Poster of the recommendations
A PDF poster providing a summary of the 8 recommendations which can be downloaded, printed off and shared –
3 – PowerPoint presentation
A PowerPoint presentation (we know that the majority of the audience use Microsoft based software) of the entire thought piece which can be presented or downloaded, printed off and shared –
4 – Social media images
A suite of social media images for people to share across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn –
OUR WORK IN ACTION
You can view the website and the recommendations at
* Next practice is a commitment to a process not an end product. Its about moving from ‘best practice’ to ‘next practice’ by acknowledging that the best solutions come from development and refinement, and seeking continuous improvement. It is a process of development that never stops.
+ PLEASE NOTE:
The recommendations and opinions expressed in this thought piece are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of iMPOWER or the London Borough of Bromley
As we leave Halloween behind and start to count down towards Christmas, we are busy in our crafting studios working on a range of projects.
Aim High Agency
Last week we pressed ‘go’ on our newest website for a new business venture, Aim High Agency.
We created them a simple to use website which fits the vision of the company’s founder, Mike.
We are still writing up our casestudy on this, so in the meantime, check out their new website at www.aim-highchefs.co.uk.
A New Digital Platform for Health and Wellbeing
Our founder met with Richard Hills and Mark Methven, from iMPOWER, to discuss how Local Authority digital platforms could be enhanced to offer residents more dynamic and personalised local health and wellbeing services.
From the discussion, Richard, Mark and Michael identified eight recommendations for improving Local Authorities’ online presence.
To help Richard, Mark and Michael share these with, & to influence, others, we:
Created a brand for the work
Crafted a brand voice and style
Built a website
Developed a set of downloads, including social media images
For this project we worked with Derek and Ailsa to redesign their existing website for their holiday rental cottage, as well as to develop them a strong brand which would make them stand out in a crowded market place.
Derek and Ailsa approached us and asked us to take a look at their current business website as they felt that it was dated, not mobile friendly and did not represent the beauty and quality of their holiday cottage.They wanted a bright, vibrant website which made the best use of their surrounding areas, alongside the history of their Grade II listed former miners cottage.
They also wanted a brand that was strong, unique and professional, and which reflected the history of their cottage. The brand needed to be appealing to their customers whilst also standing out in what is a very crowded market place.
Read through our approach below to see how we worked with Derek and Ailsa to firstly design their new branding and then how we used this to redesign, build and launch Derek and Ailsa a new business website.
– – –
Understanding Derek and Ailsa
Whenever we work on a project, we like to get to know the people that we are working with. We feel that is important to understand who they are, what they stand for, and what they want from the project. Especially when we are working with the owners of a small business, like Derek and Ailsa, we have learnt that their company tends to reflect their own personality and style, and so it is important for us to get to know them better.
So, we did what we always do, we sat down to talk to Derek and Ailsa, to understand who they are, to understand what Clydfan Cottage is about – it’s WHY – and to learn from them about what they wanted from their new brand. Through the wonders of Skype we were able to do this quickly and easily.
– – –
To kickoff this project, we began by taking our time to look at their existing branding. We wanted to understand the existing user experience of booking a stay at Clydfan.
What we found was an almost non-existent brand. There was no clear message that said “this is Clydfan – this is our brand, this is us”.
The consistent points that we noticed was the use of photos of the property – both internally and externally. There was no clear logo or style, nor a clear branding colour scheme.
The first thing that we started with was a colour scheme. This would direct the rest of the branding scheme and ‘brand voice’.
Having looked at the current branding on the website the thing that caught our eye was the colour of the cottage – it was the only property of that colour on the street so we used that as a starting point.
We then liked the way the green contrasted, yet sat comfortably with, the slate grey of the tiles on the cottage roof – so we added the slate grey in to the mix.
Part of our belief is that white is an essential part of any colour scheme – so we added that in to.
During our conversations with Derek and Ailsa, Ailsa shared her preference for a pink colour that we had used on a previous project – so we added that to the mix. With direct input from Ailsa we then tweaked the type of pink we used and ended up with a more neon version.
We settled on the colour scheme below which we sent to Derek and Ailsa to agree –
Once we had a brand colour scheme, we started to consider what font scheme would suit the ‘brand voice’ that Derek and Ailsa wanted.
We looked at their existing font style and then looked at how we could use that inspiration to develop them a scheme that was more appropriate for the brand and for the cottage itself. We wanted something that mixed the history of the cottage – it is Grade II listed – with a font that was more flowing and represented the closeness of the cottage to the river (in our view it is one of the unique selling points of the cottage).
After much deliberating, and much testing, we settled on the following font scheme –
After we had received agreement from Derek and Ailsa on the colour scheme and the font scheme, we looked at how we could bring those together into a logo design that was strong, unique and professional, and which reflected the history of the cottage and its uniqueness.
Derek and Ailsa had some ideas of what they wanted – they wanted to reflect the river, the al fresco dining (table and chairs in the garden which overlooks the river) and the cottage itself.
We come up with a number of concept ideas to give Derek and Ailsa some food for thought –
Some of these were liked by Derek and Ailsa, and some went straight into the bin. But they served their purpose, they helped us narrow down what they wanted. They learnt that the table and chairs looked more like a cafe, so that went. We kept the cottage image idea as that grew on them.
As we were working on the logo we were also working on the new website design, and in particular, the photos for the website – and there in one of the photos was something that became our inspiration, the Clydfan sign outside the front door. It was a plain sign of the name of the cottage on a piece of slate, see below:
What we liked about this sign was its mix of simplicity, its timeless feel and how it represented the cottage– the slate, the straight lines and the link back to the mining industry. The font on the sign also linked very closely with the font scheme which we had chosen – it was like it was meant to be.
By mixing this with what we learnt from the previous exercise, and the wishes of Derek and Ailsa, we came up with the final logo design –
We also created a number of secondary logo formats –
These were all then provided to Derek and Ailsa in a number of formats – png, jpeg, svg and eps – and, as per our approach, the logo is theirs to own forever.
– – –
The other part of the project was to redevelop the existing Clydfan Cottage website.
We began by taking our time to look through the existing website. We wanted to understand the existing user experience with a critical eye.
This is what we found –
One of the first things that we noticed was that it looked a little dated. It also wasn’t mobile friendly. Additionally the branding was a little muddled, and some of the photos were very blurry and pixelated. In essence, it wasn’t doing the cottage justice.
So these points became our simple guidelines for the new website –
1/ It needs to be designed using the new branding with a clear ‘brand voice’
2/ It needs to clearly showcase the unique selling points of the cottage
3/ It needs to be easier to navigate
4/ It needs to have more of a ‘wow’ factor when you opened it
5/ It needs to clearly promote testimonials from previous customers
The new site
For the new site we came up with a simple, initial structure, and then through input from Derek and Ailsa, we expanded this to the following 6 core options, wth a couple of pages which float off of the main structure –
4/ the local area
We also added the contact details and a ‘Make a booking’ link into the footer of every page along with =the site map and a map of the cottage location, and links to their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
We also made the site bright, vibrant, and consistent on the ‘brand voice’. It is also mobile friendly and SEO friendly.
It makes the best use of the cottage’s unique selling point – its location overlooking the river. We built in bright, large and colourful photos of the cottage and its surrounding areas throughout the site. In addition, we also embedded videos that Derek and Ailsa had taken of the local area.
One of the key elements of this project was to make the most of the history of their Grade II listed former miners cottage. Alongside adding in details about its history into the text and title of the website, we also included a large historic photo of the cottage from either the 1800’s or very early 1900’s.
We also wanted to make it easier for customers to give their reviews within the website. Currently customers are encouraged to use Trip Advisor; however, Derek and Ailsa wanted to move away from this, so we built a ‘How was your stay’ form directly into the website. We also built a form for people to submit questions if they are not already covered within the frequently asked questions page to help Derek and Ailsa understand the questions that their customers, and potential customers, have.
This site was also the first site which we were not going to host. Therefore, the website was designed to be hosted by a different company that Derek and Ailsa had previously used.
We also had to build in the external booking system that Derek and Ailsa used.
For this project we worked with Nina on her journey to starting her own independent consultancy
Nina approached us & asked us to help her get her business up & running quickly. She wanted a professional but friendly approach in her brand design & website design which reflected her individual personality.
Read through our approach below to see how we worked with Nina to deliver her a personal brand including colour scheme, font scheme and logo, and then how we used that to build her a website to bring it all to life.
– – –
To get started we did what we do best, sat down with Nina al fresco & had a coffee – & a conversation.
We wanted to know more about her, to get a better feeling who she is, & then, to look at what ideas she has for her own brand.
We strongly believe that as this is her brand, she needs to own it & to have control over it. We are just here to support her, advise her & to put her ideas into place – with some suggested creativity & design ideas along the way.
The first idea she had was what ‘voice’ she wanted – she wanted a voice that balanced professional & friendly, that was welcoming yet built trust in her as a person & her offering. She wanted something that reflected her as individual. This guided all our decisions.
She also had an idea about colours that she liked too – she liked teals and aquas. The rest was up to us.
So we went away and started building our ideas – in another coffee shop actually! We researched other similar providers, providers in other business areas, and created a Pinterest Board of things that inspired us for this project.
We started with a colour palette that brought together a teal and aqua, with some more solid colours of grey, an off-black and a trusty white.
This is what our colour palette looked like –
We then went on to create a font scheme that reflected our brief of professional yet friendly. We wanted two fonts – one for headings and one for the text body – that looked formal & professional in its structure, but that also had a bit of informality in the finer detail.
The two fonts that we came up with were –
Once we knew what colour palette and font scheme we were going to use, we started to come up with some concept design ideas for a logo for Nina.
We tried several different ideas but kept coming back to one thing – the fact that Nina‘s initials are NN. We felt that this was something special that we had to build on. So we did.
We put two capital N’s together and reversed one. Then we put that in a coloured circle to bring them together and put them in different colours. The logo image now reflected three colours that formed Nina‘s colour palette.
And then we added her name and website address directly underneath.
The logo we came up with was –
To go alongside this, we also created the following secondary logos for her –
To help bring all of the above together, we created a branding board for Nina – and us! – to ensure that we both kept to, built on & owned her brand.
For this project we worked with Andrea to redesign her existing website for her occupational therapy business, KentOT4Kids.
Andrea approached us & asked us to take a look at her current business website as she wasn’t happy with it. She wanted a website design that better reflected KentOT4Kids, that was better designed, & that was more appealing to her customers.
Read through our approach below to see how we worked with Andrea to redesign, build & launch her new business website.
– – –
To kickoff this project, we began by taking our time to look through her existing website. We wanted to understand the existing user experience of her website before we met with Andrea.
We also wanted to get a feel of the type of person that she was & what the business stood for from the website too before we met. We felt that this was important as for many of her customers, this is the experience that they would have.
This is what we found – here’s a couple of screenshots of her existing website –
One of the first things that we noticed was that it looked a little dated. It also wasn’t mobile friendly & was quite ‘dry’. To us it didn’t say “reach out to us, we can help you”.
We’re also lucky that through personal experience we know what an Occupational Therapist does & what occupational therapy is – but we felt that this wasn’t clear in the current website. It was quite technical & professionally written.
After we had got a good understanding of her website, we then did what we always do, we sat down with Andrea to meet her, to understand who she is, to understand what KentOT4Kids is about – it’s WHY – & to learn from Andrea about what she wanted from her new site.
Andrea gave us a quite an open steer – she told us that she didn’t like her current site, & that she never really had, & that she wanted something that “looked better”. She had looked at other websites & had got ‘website envy’!
KentOT4Kids had a strong brand already, so we didn’t need to look at changing that. Instead we used that as inspiration.
We looked at her current logo & branding style & realised that this was not conveyed on the website at all. Her current logo is bright, colourful, engaging & illustrates that they work with & for children. The current website does not do that.
Here is the KentOT4Kids logo –
This became our first design guideline. We needed to design her a website that does all of that. It needs to be bright, colourful, engaging & illustrate that they work with & for children.
We also took the colour scheme of the logo & used this as the colour palette for the new website. We didn’t want to use all the colours included, instead, we used the range of colours to give us the freedom to create a good mix on the new site.
During our conversation with Andrea we wanted to understand the customers of the business. Who buys services form KentOT4Kids & how did they find out about KentOT4Kids?
We learnt that most of their customers were parents who paid privately for occupational therapy input for their child. We also learnt that a significant number of other parents use the assessment reports from KentOT4Kids to demand support from their local education, health & care services. We needed to ensure that both of these were clearly reflected in the new site.
We also felt that from our own experiences & user research, that in the first contact with KentOT4Kids, most parents do not actually understand what occupational therapy is, what an occupational therapist does, & what kind of therapy the parents can do themselves with their child. This became our design guideline number two – the website had to clearly illustrate & show what an OT is & what they do.
– – –
Once we had set out the design guidelines, created our colour palette, conducted user experience & got to know Andrea & KentOT4Kids better, we set about planning the new site.
The first thing we thought about was what we felt people needed to know. And then we looked at how people would want to read it. From this, we created a navigation structure that was simple, clear & concise.
From our research we worked on the basis that most people who visit the website are likely to be new customers for Andrea so we could assume that they would not know a lot about occupational therapy. The customers we spoke to knew, or thought they knew, the basics about occupational therapy when they first contacted KentOT4Kids, but most did not have a good understanding.
At this point we were also very clear that in order of us to fully reflect the work of an occupational therapist we would need photos to go alongside the text. So we arranged to take photos at one of Andrea’s sessions with three children. This would give us a good range of therapy styles that she uses across a couple of age ranges. Using photos would also add extra colour to the site & would be more engaging.
Once we had the photos, we started to rework the text that Andrea already had in her existing site. We looked very closely at what was there. To do this, we printed it off on A3 (a free design tip here as we work better like this!), read through what she had previously written & asked ourselves the key question – would a parent of a child with additional needs understand what was written quickly & easily, & then make contact with Andrea? And we decided that the text needed some work.
We specifically concentrated on two aspects in the text – readability & understanding.
The text had to be quick & easy to read. To help with this we used headings, broke the sentences down, & made it friendlier.
The text also had to be easy to understand. To help with this we explained some of the technical words used & linked them off to specific therapy websites so a parent could research more if they wanted to. We did this in our research, so we wanted to save parents the hassle of having to copy the text & then Googling it!
– – –
The new site
For the new site we came up with a simple, initial structure –
1/ services & support – with headings for (a) assessments, (b) therapy, (c) reports & (d) training
2/ view our work in action – a gallery of the therapy input & styles
3/ about us – an explanation of Andrea’s experience, qualification & registrations, & details,of her experience in the NHS (another lesson from our user research)
4/ contact us – a simple online contact form
We also added a smaller photo gallery into the footer of every page along with links to the relevant registrations & memberships that Andrea has to ensure that parents could easily trust that Andrea is a qualified & regulated professional. This was something that came up in our user experience.
We also used the photos from our photo shoot as heading images on the pages to give the website ‘life’ & a more human touch. We also felt that this consistent use of photos of the therapy would help parents better understand occupational therapy.
After doing all of this, we felt that there was something missing. We needed to make it even easier for parents to understand & relate to KentOT4Kids. And we needed to help create a level of trust between KentOT4Kids & parents as early as possible too.
To help us do that, we have started to work with Andrea on two new elements to the site –
1/ testimonials – to help with this we are creating a short, independent & impartial feedback system for KentOT4 that we would administer 2/ child profiles – to show the range of children that KentOT4Kids work with & an example of the therapy interventions that they have had
We are working on these now so they should be live on the site shortly.
– – –
How does Project Andrea help us live OUR WHY?
OUR WHY is to use the power of creativity to make futures better today.
Andrea created KentOT4Kids to help give children their best possible start in live & to help their parents provide them with the care, support & therapy input that they need.
We helped her put her WHY into action so that she can work with more children with additional needs & their parents to make their futures better today.
For this project we worked with Steve to design him a new website for his independent cleaning equipment business, Oasis Contract Services.
Steve approached us following a recommendation from Judy (see Project JudyK) & asked us to create him a simple website that clearly advertised the range of services provided by Oasis Contract Services.
Read through our approach below to see how we worked with Steve to design, build & launch his new business website.
– – –
To kickoff this project, we began by taking our time to look at some relevant competitor websites and the websites of the products that Oasis use. We admit, cleaning equipment is not something that we have a deep level of knowledge about, but we used this to our advantage.
It made us approach the project with open eyes. We were able to ask those questions and look into the details that we might not have done if we knew everything about the services. It also made sure that we approached the project and our designs as a potential customer.
Oasis have a strong brand that is being developed by Steve, including a new logo, website domain idea and styling, so we didn’t need to look at changing that. Instead we used that as inspiration.
We looked at his current logo and used that as inspiration.
Here is the Oasis logo –
This became our first design guideline. We needed to design a website that was clean, simple and used his colour scheme.
The website design
A holding website
One of the first things we did was to create Steve a holding site. Steve was very clear that he wanted the website domain fixmyjetwash.com – so we brought that straight away.
He then told us that he was planning to put the website address on his van. So to ensure that his customers could see that he had a website at the address he was promoting – key to building trust and providing reassurance – we created a simple holding site whilst we built his full site.
The holding site consisted of just a single page with his contact details, an online form and a message to confirm that his full website was in development. His holding page looked like this –
The actual website
For the new full website we came up with a simple structure –
1/ services and prices – a breakdown of the range of services offered by Oasis with separate sub pages for each
2/ about us – a page to explain what the company is about and to emphasis that, although it is fairly new (5 years), it is built on over 30 years experience
3/ get in touch – making the telephone number, e-mail and a simple online contact form easy to see and use, with an embedded map to the company address too
We created a footer for every page that included the following items –
1/ contact details (with an embedded Google map)
2/ site map
3/ a link to Oasis’ details on the Companies House website to provide reassurance
In addition, we put the telephone number for Oasis in the header of every page.
We developed a number of unique images for the website.
We overlaid the images relevant to the topic on the page with a blue tint (the blue in the logo), and then combination of a darker blue, grey (the grey from the logo) and white triangles to create a set of unique images which fit within the Oasis brand.
Some of the images were:
– – –
How does Project Oasis help us live OUR WHY?
OUR WHY is to use the power of creativity to make futures better today.
Steve created Oasis to offer a local, independent cleaning service which provides people with a personal touch that can meet all their cleaning equipment requirements.
We helped him put his WHY into action so that he can provide more local people with a personalised cleaning service that meets their needs.