Have your say…a new website for changing times.
So much has changed since Easter. Back then the world collectively recoiled as the virus rampaged from east to west. Practically all forms of retail, hospitality, entertainment and commerce closed without warning. Our lives and routines suddenly became much smaller, more vulnerable. For many Londoners, our green and blue spaces became lifelines, a daily ritual and refuge from lockdown. Like so many around us, we at CPRE London collected ourselves for what was about to happen and pondered how the pandemic might shape the green agenda in London and beyond.
Amidst all this, someone, somewhere quietly pushed a button and our new CPRE London website – the one before you today – sprang into life. This is a potted history of the thinking behind the new site launch as well as some early thoughts around what lies beyond for CPRE London in digital and online.
“We’d love your thoughts on the new website. If you can spare just 5 minutes to provide feedback we would really appreciate it! Click here to complete our short survey. Thank you!”
Do you remember our old site? Here’s an annotated screenshot from around January this year (thanks Wayback Machine!) to remind you.
The new website has a number of goals and ambitions. Many of these were discovered during user interviews and focus groups carried out Summer and Autumn 2019.
For example, we wanted to ensure that we moved on from the cluttered, busy look of the old website (see above). The text was often too small and information was bunched together making things hard to read for some.
We also didn’t make best use of available screen space. You can see the layout above is rather narrow; meaning there’s lots of unused space on the left and right sides of the screen. If you used the old website on phone or tablet, it didn’t use responsive technology to detect and adapt the content to the display type. This could mean lots of pinching and scrolling around to find and read content.
Talking of navigation, our old site didn’t have a global navigation system which – as the name implies – enables users to get to any page from wherever they are in the site. Instead navigation for each section or category was baked into that page only. This could result in some convoluted journeys from A to B!
And finally the logo, branding, use of colour and images and tone of voice varied considerably between the CPRE National website and its various branches. This made it more confusing for first time users (and younger users in particular) to engage with our vision and mission as well as getting involved with our campaigns, as a volunteer or donator.
Cue the new website!
As you can see, the new CPRE London website has a much cleaner more modern look and feel. It makes good use of white space with clear, readable, high contrast fonts and typography. It uses a card motif to group posts and content items neatly, making scanning and reading a breeze. It’s also completely at home on a range of screens including phone tablet and desktop.
We’ve also introduced a new logo, brand and visual style guide which you’ll see across the national and branch sites meaning that we’re instantly recognisable as part of the CPRE national family. Brand guidelines are a much wider subject, but the goal here was to create a familiar, modern feel that brings the family together under a digital identity while not losing the voice and spirit of London and its various campaigns and projects that is so important to our work.
Behind the scenes we’ve moved from a legacy content management system to WordPress. This makes authoring, publishing and sharing content much faster and easier. It paves the way to producing a broader range of content and formats to engage our supporters over the medium term.
Looking ahead to our future plans for digital, Neil Sinden – Director of CPRE London – says:
“Our new website couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Many of us have become more digitally savvy due to lockdown, so we would really value your reactions to the new design. Digital communications will only become more important in future and we need to make the most of it. Your feedback can help us do so.”
As we continue to develop and improve our websites, we very much want to take you – the user and supporter – with us on that journey. Tell us what you like and what you don’t. Be open and transparent. We’ve taken the first step on that journey and we’ve love you to help us shape the next.
Take 5 minutes to complete our survey and help us build the site you want to see.
CPRE London web & digital team