Our website was long overdue an overhaul. From our very first meeting with Studio Republic, their vision and creativity bowled us over. Thanks to their clear, strong design and highly user-friendly conversion mechanisms, our website now functions as a core arm of our charity. In the first month from Go Live, we had double the number of online donations compared to the same period in the previous year. We have never before had so many enquiries from individuals looking to support our work or volunteer with us. SR have transformed how we view our website and transformed the results we are getting from it.
We were approached by Regional young homelessness charity, Step by Step, when they recognised that their website could no longer support the needs of the charity. Step by Step had recently undergone a thorough rebranding process. They needed their site to reflect their identity and updated direction. The site needed to make it as easy as possible for young people to access services, and for supporters to get involved.
Aside from their retiring site not being mobile responsive or user-friendly, particular obstacles the charity were facing were drop off rates where donors were being directed to third-party platforms; and difficulties with supporters being able to register and pay for events. Step by Step had identified a need to reach people who could volunteer time to support their work, and a separate need to reach people willing to let their spare room to young lodgers. Above all, the site needed to be equally easy for young people in crisis to use as a way to get help and for potential supporters to offer help.
“There were a number of issues with the existing Step by Step site which we had to solve upon briefing. It was very difficult for the different types of users to obtain the information which they needed from the site. This was one of the main challenges we faced as we needed to design a site which gave young people the opportunity to easily access the variety of services provided by Step by Step but also make it just as simple for supporters who wanted to get involved to find out how they could help, all within an environment on the site which both would feel comfortable using.” Halina, Designer
Taking a storytelling approach, and using authentic photography from the charity, we’ve created a vibrant and engaging site that strikes a balance between showcasing the great work that Step by Step do, and highlighting the ways people can help by getting involved or donating. The stories and images are equally relatable for young people in need of support as they are for people wanting to get involved with the charity. To remove barriers to engagement, we’ve clearly divided the ways that people can get involved with the charity. Site users can immediately see specific and small tasks that they could achieve, making them more likely to support the charity.
Step by Step share our view that a website is just one tool in the marketing tool box. They also recognise that the launch of a new site is the beginning of the journey, not the end of a project. We’ve been working with Step by Step since the launch of their site to measure the performance and user behaviour on the site, and to run multi-variant testing to inform ongoing developments to optimise conversion rates. We’ve also been in a position to collaborate with the charity on content development and editing, and in the production of supporting materials for events and fundraising.
We developed a bespoke donation platform that integrates with Stripe, PayPal, and Go Cardless to manage one-off and recurring Direct Debit donations. Event participants can now register and pay for events within the site, increasing the level of event participation for the charity. Supporters of the charity can get in touch easily to volunteer their time.
There are clear areas within the site with strong calls to action to promote the opportunity for people to help young people by offering to let their spare room. All data capture touchpoints in the site are GDPR compliant and integrate with Mailchimp, Step by Step's email campaign platform. We also worked with Step by Step's CRMs provider, Harlequin, to support them with offline integration of data.
With multiple users and stakeholders involved, a particular challenge of this project was to support the client in focusing on the users of their new website. In the initial kick off meeting with the Step by Step team we created a range of personas which allowed us to identify exactly who would be using the site, what they would be looking for and what they would be hoping to have achieved upon leaving the site.
We identified four main users these being; young people in crisis looking for help with Step by Step services, the families of the young people in crisis looking for ways in which Step by Step, supporters looking to get involved and those looking to donate. Having identified these key users we created a user experience map to plan out the journeys each of these users could take on the site. This allowed us to ensure that we wouldn’t push users into areas of the site which we didn’t want them to go. For example within the services area for young people we would not push any call to actions such as donate because they are in crisis and the key end goal they need to achieve is to find out how to get help. Using this process throughout we were able to create these areas of the site targeted specifically for our users in mind.
The home page acts as a starting point to allow users to identify themselves as they land with the 3 statements ‘I want to get help’ ‘I want to get involved’ and ‘I want to give money’ instantly pushing them into the area of the site relevant for them. Throughout the site we used many devices such as sliders showing what donation money goes towards to to encourage donations, icons for particular ways users can get involved, and related pages to push users into areas of the site which are likely relevant to them.
Users of Step by Step’s previous site were primarily desktop users. There are multiple approaches to designing responsively as we move towards a digital world where all sites will be accessed from mobile devices. On this occasion we designed desktop first giving consideration at every stage as to how the site would respond to deliver a seamless mobile experience. A particular concern for the client was the donation experience on mobile. The donation functionality, event booking and payment functionality, and all other conversion points are simple and clear on all devices.
Following our processes of meeting with the client and creating personas at the beginning and then using these to inform our building of a user journey map to then create wireframes which through a prototype we were able to test. We ensured that by the time the site was pushed live we knew we had a website with a strong core structure that would be easy to navigate for those using it.
To support the implementation of the brand, and Step by Step’s content plan and seasonal campaigns, we’ve redesigned the print newsletter, and created collateral such as flyers, Christmas cards, and gift tags.
Step by Step have been running a Christmas appeal for two years with growing success. It’s historically been a primarily offline appeal and they came to Studio Republic with the challenge of building on this success through the creation of a digital campaign.