How do you plan and create a council website that residents choose as their preferred channel, and immediately begins to reduce internal cost?
The website serves over one million users and attracts approximately 4,486,793 unique visitors a year. Website content and online forms are managed by a team of over 70 editors and administrators.
Birmingham City Council’s previous website had been replaced in 2010 with an expensive implementation of a legacy CMS. The project attracted widespread criticism from the public for the cost and the quality of the finished product, and was the subject of a critical report by the City Council itself.
Europe’s largest local authority needed an entire rebrand and rethink.
A whole new, easy-to-use design was required, to encourage citizens to choose the website as their preferred channel, to encourage self-service where possible.
One of the council’s core objectives when starting the project was to tackle residents concerns regarding the lack of mobile responsiveness. The council was awarded the official 'Honouree' status in the Webby Awards, the leading international award honouring excellence on the internet in the 'Mobile Sites and Apps' sector (2017).
The Spacecraft team did a lot of discovery work with customers throughout the redesign process, and spent a lot of time analysing the previous site in order to plan out what was working and what wasn’t.
The main aim was to shift their website to be the main method of contact from their citizens, so user testing was key and conducted every step of the way to enable the team to establish and define the Birmingham communities needs.
Eye tracking played a huge part in the decision-making process, a technology using heatmaps to track eye movement enabled the team to track where the users eye was drawn to. This all contributed to the users’ needs and the journey they were looking to go on on the Birmingham site.
The interaction and feedback from residents and regular website users was crucial to the redesign. It was central to everything we did. That people are benefiting from the new site is all we could have asked for - the Lovie awards, as with the Webby, was the icing on the cake!
Paula Buckley, Assistant Director, Customer Service , Birmingham City Council
The end result was a mobile responsive, accessible, user-friendly redesign based on thorough intelligence.
The new redesigned website was launched in 2016 and since then has been well received by the public, winning numerous awards.
- Webby Awards Honoree 2018
- A Gold award and a People’s Choice Award at the Lovies, Europe’s leading awards organisation honouring excellence in design and user experience (2017)
- A Gold award at The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) in the Websites and Government & Civic’ category (2017). They also took away the People’s Public Vote reflecting users feedback to the overall design and user experience of the website (2017)
- 'Special Designation for Innovative Web Design' Award at the Adobe Government Creativity Awards who recognise the best work in connecting government and citizens through technology. (2018)
- Plain English Award (2017)
- UKUX Shortlisted (2017)
Birmingham’s citizens can now easily find their way around the council’s website at home or on the move!