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Medway Council

Usability studies, target audience research, website design, Alterian CMS.

The Client

Medway Council is responsible for the provision of all utility services in the Medway district, servicing the needs of individuals and businesses and working to achieve improvements to the area for the population of 252,000.

Launched in 2003 the previous Medway Council website wasn’t performing to the required level – the dated design was uninspiring and the limited functionality restricted how useful the website was for visitors.  The latest SOCITM Better Connected report downgraded the website to ‘standard’ against other local government websites as it had failed to keep pace with the developments seen on other council websites.

The Strategy

The vision for the new Medway Council website was to improve the user’s experience, making it easy for them to find out information and complete their tasks as quickly as possible. Whilst the transactional and information gathering objectives are key, creative consideration must also focus on developing an innovative and engaging design that improves the brand image of Medway Council and is a shop window onto its core values. Ultimately, the website needs to be award winning across the board, integrating market leading content, functionality and design.

The project strategy included audience personas, usability and design consultancy, information architecture, search engine optimisation strategy, creative concepts and a portfolio of flexible design templates.

The Solution

Our creative strategy for the Medway Council website was to focus on the design style to communicate key council values – the website needed to portray a trustworthy, clear and confident message, and above all, be a helpful resource for visitors. To achieve this we had to work on a number of levels - it must impress users so that their experience and interaction with the Medway Council is positive, and it must cater for the different types of content, providing easy routes to information so users can find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently.

From our extensive experience with trade, government and education organisations, we know the challenges of catering for many different audiences and messages in one website. Our creative ensures that the Medway Council website is a very easy to navigate shop window on all that the council has to offer the various audience groups.

To achieve the best creative solution for Medway Council’s users, we set out to fully understand the target audience, their user experience preferences and requirements through consultancy meetings with the councils key stakeholders, before putting pen to the virtual paper and starting any creative work.
As well as running the stakeholder workshops we conducted usability studies with analytics and heat map tracking, user tasks observation and focus groups for feedback.This user understanding was combined with Wickedweb’s understanding of vital SEO techniques, usability and accessibility, the Alterian Immediacy platform, and the business objectives, to produce design concepts that were visually compelling, perfect for the target audience, and the type of organisation, ticking all the requirements boxes.

The Result

We have received some fantastic feedback from Medway Council:

“We've had some great feedback to the website. The designs have been received really well - our leader said 'it doesn't look like a council website' - which was just great.  People are loving the “find my nearest” functionality. 
Thanks so much to you and the whole team for the huge part you played in this - as I said at the time you blew the competition out of the water and you've really delivered - so thanks!
I'm certain we'll be working together again - and a massive thank you!”

Rachel Curtis
Direct and Digital Marketing Manager

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