Albion in the Community (AITC) is the official charitable arm of the Sussex premier league club, Brighton & Hove Albion FC. AITC’s work is driven by three key objectives:
AITC commissioned NLS to design and develop a new website that would fulfil many aims: to support their aim to enable participation in sport for all people, right across Sussex; to drive their revenues through sales of courses and other related activities; to engage representatives of local businesses, government and other local charities; and to provide a platform that would be easy for their staff to maintain and update information on a regular basis without expensive maintenance fees.
One of the key challenges in developing the AITC website was creating a single website that would appeal to and provide a positive experience for all of its diverse user groups: Donors, young people (with and without disabilities), parents, local schools, and fans of Brighton & Hove Albion.
After conducting stakeholder interviews and workshops, NLS assessed the relative importance of all content required for the website and then arranged it into an information architecture that would prioritise the most important user journeys, whilst accommodating all the required user actions and content. We developed a Megamenu with clear, descriptive headings, and subheadings supported by imagery, so that users could quickly identify the content that they needed and navigate towards it.
We then designed a website that was visually stunning and fully responsive, using a range of video and specially commissioned photography that showcased AITC’s incredible work across the local community. The front page of the site features content relevant to each of AITC’s primary user groups and contains prominent calls to action, so that users had multiple opportunities to find the content most relevant to them, regardless of their preferred method of navigating. A social wall seamlessly integrates AITC’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, leading users to engage with them more on social media.
Part of the brief was to ensure that the website was made to a high standard of accessibility, to ensure that users with a range of disabilities could successfully use the website and all its functions – the design we delivered a level AA WCAG rating and the site offers users a range of accessibility tools including a high-contrast version and a text size changer.
The site needed to be easy to learn for staff, including new team members and people who do not have a technical background. For this reason, NLS built the site using WordPress, with a custom backend with a simple WYSIWYG content editor. NLS minimised the number of plugins that the site uses, in order to ensure that the site loads quickly and to minimise AITC’s ongoing reliance on NLS for maintenance.
Since launch NLS has provided ongoing support and maintenance to the site, managing first and second line ad hoc enquiries. We also maintain the security of the WordPress installation by ensuring that the core WordPress and all plug ins are always updated to the latest secure and supported version.
Currently NLS are working with AITC to improve the site further, to match up with AITC’s digital strategy.
NLS worked with multiple stakeholder groups to develop a website that appeals to a wide and diverse range of user groups. We are now working as partner with AITC to help them implement their digital strategy.
Launched in October 2016, in its first year, the site received more than 80,000 visits from more than 50,000 unique visitors and has maintained a consistent appeal thanks to consistently new content.
The site was designed with mobile responsiveness as a priority, which has benefited AITC since the proportion of mobile users has nearly doubled in the past 2 years (from just under 40% at the start of 2017 to around 75% now). User engagement over the past year has increased (page views per session are up by 8%, as is the average session duration) and the bounce rate has fallen.
“The high value placed by NLS on understanding our business model has provided real added value. We needed to partner with a team who understood how critical the website is to our organisational success, and who could work with the stakeholders we have to develop a site that directly assists us in delivering our aims.”
“What we have really cherished in working with NLS is the great customer service and the high level of responsiveness shown in reacting to our needs, guiding our actions and delivering on our organisational needs. These have been really appreciated here”
Phil Baldwin, Chief Financial Officer