February 21, 2020
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Working in partnership with El Capitán Digital, we were asked to design and build a new website primarily serving information about green spaces, activities, walks, cycle routes and wider attractions across the Greater Manchester region.
Key objectives were to boost public engagement in outdoor spaces, activities, and volunteering for social, leisure and health purposes. Greater public engagement would also create benefits for environmental projects, tourism, education, urban planning and research.
The new website had to be clear and appealing to the public. Users range from occasional to regular outdoor visitors, potential volunteers to committed volunteers, novices and knowledgeable, enthusiasts to the less-enthusiastic, healthy and less-healthy.
We designed and developed a website based on core UX principles and with the challenge of integrating multiple content sources to create a central ‘hub’ for the public to find.
The region has diverse environments including urban parks, historic houses, industrial heritage sites, nature reserves and upland hills. However, most councils and nature organisations only publish limited, local information.
As a result, the public had limited awareness of attractions. For a wider picture, they had to search multiple websites which created poor user-experience and limited public engagement.
So, the new website brought together all this information plus material from organisations such as the RSPB, Royal Horticultural Society and Visit Manchester.
User-experience and public engagement was central to this project. For detailed insights into users and stakeholders’ needs, we produced a short survey which fed into a UX workshop with stakeholders.
That provided the basis to prototype new website page templates to be user-tested before our graphic designer started working on brand and visuals.
Because users were expected to be using the site on mobile devices as well as tablets and desktops, we also needed to ensure a fast page-load was achieved through a 3G connection.
Final testing and approval took place at a conference when Cornerstone and El Capitan Digital presented the website to over 60 delegates for final feedback before launch.
See the site here
Krista Patrick from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) said: “Cornerstone and El Capitan fully-understood the brief from day-one and the need to bring together a wide variety of resources into one place. They were extremely flexible and responsive with innovative and imaginative ideas. We’ve received lots of positive feedback about the website.”