Our new website - what we've learnt so far

By Calum MacÙisdean on 7th Mar 2018

In developing this website, we went through the following process:

  • Define a project scope
  • Document user needs
  • Investigate existing usage patterns and audience profiles (analytics)
  • Requirements gathering ("As a ... I need/want/expect to ... so that ...")
  • Information architecture development - content hierarchy
  • Choose design language/principles
  • Mockup designs
  • Develop key landing pages
  • Content migration
  • Testing
  • Testing
  • Testing

Read more about our development process.

Since launching at the end of January, we've continued to iterate and respond quickly to feedback both from within and outwith the organisation.

Further development since launch

We've been able to quickly implement a template view for our funded projects that will output JSON formatted structured data in the 360Giving Standard - this means that whenever a new grant is marked as awarded in our database it will (if the conditions are correct) be pulled through to our website automatically and be instantly available to 360Giving to publish our funds as open data. Another great example of working with data that wasn't possible with the old website is the mock-up Trustee vacancy search that allows you to search for available Trustee/board vacancies on both the Milo volunteering database and the Goodmoves jobs website.

Analytics insights

We've been using Google Analytics to compare usage - many issues that we were hoping to improve have been improved. For example, the search function is now used more frequently:

Another interesting metric with improved data after launch is the "bounce rate" - this shows a greatly reduced percentage. A high bounce rate is an indication that entrance pages (initial landing pages) aren't relevant to visitors.

We've also set up events and goals to help track use of specific functions we'd like to keep track of - such as booking events.

Future plans

The website will be in continual development - adding new content areas, refining and altering how existing content types are displayed. We'll be in a position to use the website for The Gathering booking pages next year - one less separate website needed.

We'll be adding front-end authentication functionality to the technology stack, allowing us to easily create a "members area" that lets SCVO member organisations more effectively communicate with us, post jobs, find funds, share views, and more.

The process of sorting out content and designing a website is likely to be similar for many organisations - engagement with stakeholders, focussing on user needs, research into usage patterns, and ensuring that all content is as accessible as possible.