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How we produced an award-winning charity website

The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) has won Best Charity Website at the Third Sector Digital Awards 2020 (small and medium-sized charity). We’re chuffed to bits, for our team and the good people at the BDA. Here’s a little detail on some of the hard work we put in.

Why the new charity website was commissioned

The British Dyslexia Association website aims to provide clear information and advice to a wide range of people, from policymakers and high-level educators to worried parents of young children. Over the years several disparate platforms had built up to support multiple services and activities. The admin overhead for all of these had become too much to bear. The charity’s staff were spending way too much time on burdensome tasks and not enough on their core mission: to be the voice of Dyslexic people.

It was time for a change.

Three women post ideas to the wall on post-it notes

Charity staff take part in a website discovery workshop

Project discovery was vital to our a user-centred approach

Discovery is an important part of any project. In this case, it was essential to get a deep understanding of the charity and the people it helps. A series of workshops, run by Ten4 with different BDA teams, ensured all departments were considered in the redesign. It was a challenge to ensure the website reflected users’ needs, rather than the charity’s. Constant reassurance that good user experience and high-quality information would benefit users and the charity alike, helped keep the website redesign on track.

Constant reassurance that good user experience and high-quality information would benefit users and the charity alike, helped keep the website redesign on track.

We carefully considered different user-journeys to create clear paths to the website’s information and functions. The previous website was plagued with duplication and inconsistent structuring, so a full content audit was done to help us understand what we had, what people wanted and so on.

We did user research and user testing, before and after launch

One big change was reorganising the website’s navigation. It was previously based around who the visitor identified as (a parent, or practitioner, or educator and so on), but experience told us there might be a better solution. A card-sorting exercise with over 40 of the BDA’s social media followers provided the evidence we needed. They helped establish a more logical structure with navigation headings explicitly indicating what lies behind each link.

A card-sorting exercise with over 40 users provided the evidence we needed

On the beta launch of the new website, we invited five people to help with user testing to ensure all our core user journeys were easy to complete. Each tester had a dyslexia diagnosis. They were a mix of people who had worked with the charity before and people who hadn’t used their services but knew of them.

Feedback was assessed and prioritised by Ten4 and the charity team. Several changes were made immediately and other feedback was scheduled for more investigation.

Because we engaged users (including people with a dyslexia diagnosis) throughout the process, information is easier to find, either by navigating through the website, or directly through on-site search and via search engines.

Screenshots of the British Dyslexia Association website on mobile, desktop and tablet devices

A new CRM joined everything together

A new customer relationship management system (CRM) was selected and connected via an API to various systems. It is now integrated with membership registrations, event, training and assessment bookings, donations and more.

It’s hard to quantify the time savings this has made for both users and charity staff. We do know that it’s now significantly easier for both of these groups to carry out regular tasks, with less chance of error.

Results

😅 Burdensome admin tumbled away

Manual processing of data by charity staff has been reduced significantly with the integration of the new CRM. Membership applications and the booking of training courses, for example, were both paper-processes before the relaunch. They are now carried out independently by users. Data feeds into CRM and payments are processed online, where before, paper forms and manual card payments were required.

👍 SEO and engagement improved across the board

Much more engagement with the website was recorded in the first quarter after launch, compared to the same period the previous year.

Graph showing charity website stats going up: Organic search +24%; Overall users +27%; New users +29%; Active users +12%; Sessions +30%; Pageviews +79%; Pages per session +37%.

⚡️ The website is 360% faster

Speed is important. Our restructuring of content and best-practice coding has made the website 3.6 times faster on average.

Conclusion

The Mission of the BDA is to be the voice of dyslexic people. The role of the website is to help the charity provide impartial and objective advice and support, disseminate and share best practice and promote research.

By focussing on users and usability throughout the process, the BDA transformed its website from one that reflected the needs of the charity to one that reflected the needs of its users. This demonstrates to dyslexic people that the BDA is the charity that best represents them and reflects their values. More people are finding the website, which is now easier to navigate and comprehend.

Thanks to the new systems in place, the admin burden is reduced and more staff can spend more time helping and advocating for dyslexic people and their families, educators and employers.

We’re proud of our team and grateful to everyone who helped the project succeed. And it’s brilliant to win the Best Website award. But it’s knowing that more people are getting the help they need faster that is the real reward for this project.

We continue to work with the British Dyslexia Association, in what we hope will be a long and worthwhile collaboration.

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