When Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) needed a new website to support its communication with stakeholders and the general public, the collaborative Engagement, Communications and Marketing team from Midlands and Lancashire and Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) was tasked with delivering the project.
Over a six month period, the ECM team worked closely with the ICB to fully understand their vision and objectives for the new site before designing and developing a fresh, dynamic website which reflects the organisation’s brand and clearly signposts different users to relevant information.
As Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) made the transition to an ICB, it needed to ensure that its external communication channels supported this evolution, keeping stakeholders and the general public informed and engaged.
The organisation’s website would form a key part of this activity and needed:
- A fresh look and feel that reflected the ICB’s new visual identity
- New content to support the integrated care narrative and explain how different parts of the system would work together
- An improved user journey to help visitors better navigate the site and find the information they needed.
The collaborative Engagement, Communications and Marketing (ECM) team from Midlands and Lancashire and Arden & GEM CSUs was engaged in January 2022 to design and develop a new website over a six month period.
The ECM team worked closely with Lincolnshire ICB to fully understand their vision and objectives for the new site. A full production schedule, including project milestones, was then produced covering the key stages:
- Research and project scope
- Concept development
- Build and content migration
- Testing and feedback
- Development launch and training.
This was supported by the establishment of a project team and weekly steering group meeting to keep delivery on track and identify any issues or risks.
Research and development
A review of the current website identified performance improvements that could be made to speed, optimisation, user experience (UX), traffic flow and engagement. Comprehensive UX exploration was undertaken to clarify the user journey and map existing content.
This research, and the resulting recommendations, were combined with the requirements and ideas of the ICB and detailed in a concept brief. As well as capturing the overarching focus of a clear and simple user journey, the brief also enabled the programme team to confirm objectives around the use of branding, imagery, design, layout, search functionality, accessibility and SEO.
Build and testing
The website build began in June 2022, using WordPress as the frontend application, and utilised colour themed sections for clearer signposting, home page sliders, clickable call to action buttons, videos and the latest search navigation bar functionality.
Additional plug-ins were also used to build flexible templates and ensure the site was fully optimised for search engines to increase rankings.
Accessibility: The website was built with accessibility best practice in mind, ensuring compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. This included installing an ‘accessibility tools’ bar on every page along with screen reader functionality.
Security: Adherence to industry security standards underpinned the coding process and hosting arrangements, with quality checks adopting the OWASP awareness document to minimise the most critical security risks and hosting undertaken on eCloud private solutions based in England. Security and services were also supported by a certified enhanced government endorsed supplier.
Migration: The content mapping process completed in the first stage of the project enabled existing content to be simply and accurately migrated into the new site structure by the ECM team.
Testing: Prior to website go-live, cross browser testing for both mobile and desktop optimisation took place on a cloud-based platform, with any identified issues resolved before launch.
Feedback and training
Regular client meetings were held throughout the development to provide updates and collect feedback.
This, complemented by two ‘snagging’ sessions, enabled any potential issues or queries to be raised and resolved in an efficient manner.
As the new site went live, the ICB team was supplied with a range of training materials and guides to support them with the ongoing maintenance and development of their website.
As a result of the expert, high quality service provided by the ECM team, Lincolnshire ICB now has a fresh, dynamic website which reflects the organisation’s brand and clearly signposts different users to relevant information.
- Visitor traffic has increased by 25% since the new site was launched
- Use of web banners and quick access buttons on the homepage has improved signposting to key information with walk in vaccination and GP consultation information now being the most visited pages.
"The digital and design team were aware of our objectives and identified how the new website needed to clearly signpost, and better engage, stakeholders, and the general public as well as staff.
Post go-live, the website is fully accessible and better optimised for organic searches, with easier to navigate information. The team at the CSU are easy to work with, responsive to our requests and always work to find a solution that meets our needs. We are really pleased with our new website. It is easy to use, the training and materials were really helpful, the end product meets our expectations and ongoing support is fantastic."
Stephanie Foster, Web and Social Media Officer at NHS Lincolnshire ICB