The new Croydon Safeguarding Children Partnership (CSCP) microsite
Read about our project to bring the Croydon Safeguarding Children Partnership's website in-house.
In an age where information is readily available at our fingertips, it’s crucial that council services’ web presence fits the needs of their audience.
In some cases, it’s necessary to create a separate, self-contained website, sometimes referred to as a microsite. These sites provide a one-stop source of key information relevant to the service, while also reflecting the tone and style of the council.
The CSCP microsite contains briefings, guidance, and training opportunities, to help people who are either working in safeguarding, or concerned about a child. Originally, it was built by an external agency using the WordPress platform, but lots of negative feedback was received from its users. So, we were asked to find out why, and build a new and improved microsite.
A whole-team effort
The CSCP site was our first project using the LocalGov Drupal (LGD) microsite platform. A new platform brings fresh challenges, so this project brought together the whole of our User-Centred Design team (UCD), comprising content designers, user-researchers, interaction designers, and front and back-end developers to design and build a valuable resource for both residents and professionals alike.
User research is a team sport: the UCD team collaborated to look at customer feedback, analytics, and other data sources. We also carried out interviews and observed people whilst using the site. We produced a visual site map, ‘As Is’ user journey map, and carried out a content audit, highlighting areas where there was too much, or too little information.
The data showed that the old microsite:
- was ‘trying to do too much’ and trying to ‘satisfy too many needs’
- had too many pages with lots of out-of-date information and broken links
- used language and navigation that made it difficult for people to find what they were looking for
- had a search function that did not work, causing users to become frustrated and leave
- led to an increased number of phone calls to the back office
Good content is crucial
Staff within the service were responsible for updating the old microsite. Whilst everyone can write, not everyone knows how to write for the web. Writing for the web is a very specialist skill.
Our small team of Content Designers are trained to understand and convey complex information, in a simple and clear way. Content design, however, is not just about using the right words, it also focuses on creating content that meets the needs of its users, so they can take the actions that support business goals. Good content is inclusive, with a balance of style, organisation, usability, and clarity.
We changed the content management system (CMS): one of the most significant changes in the CSCP microsite improvement journey was the decision to move away from the WordPress platform. Whilst WordPress is still a popular choice for many people, we needed a platform that was easy to use and would meet evolving needs.
Our excellent corporate CMS is run on LocalGov Drupal (LGD). We’re also starting to migrate our online forms from old legacy systems to LGD Forms. So, our decision to bring the CSCP microsite in-house, onto a LGD microsite made a lot of sense. LocalGov Drupal is a free open-source product, developed by councils, for councils, which means we have greater control over its structure, content, and functionality; it also gives us greater control of our digital estate.
Simple and redesigned with a purpose: the transformation of the CSCP microsite went beyond just changing the platform. Our in-house web development team and UCD team worked tirelessly to redesign the site with a focus on usability, accessibility, and clarity. Our goal was to create a microsite that would empower residents and professionals – to easily access clear information and training, helping them safeguard children effectively. The new microsite delivers this! Using modern web and content design principles. It is responsive, ensuring that users can access information on various devices seamlessly. The design is clean and uncluttered, making it easy for users to navigate and find what they are looking for. We have received great feedback about it.
- User-friendly navigation: The microsite’s menu structure has been revamped to simplify navigation. Information is categorised logically, allowing users to quickly access the resources they need.
- Clear and concise content: The content on the microsite has been rewritten by our Content Design team and organised to be concise and easy to understand. This approach ensures that even complex information about safeguarding is presented in a way that is accessible to all.
- Working search functionality: The microsite now has a working search feature, enabling users to find specific information or resources with ease.
- Accessible: The CSCP is committed to inclusivity, and the microsite reflects this commitment by adhering to accessibility standards.
The Safeguarding Partnership’s message is: “Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility”. The journey we took to build the new CSCP microsite is our commitment to safeguard children in the community. By moving to the LocalGov Drupal platform and redesigning the microsite with a user-centred approach, we’ve created a valuable resource for both residents and professionals.