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Aqueduct designs new website for British Red Cross to engage  new generation of supporters

Posted by: The Marketing Store | Date added: Wed 11 Aug 2010

Creative communications agency Aqueduct has designed and built the new website for the British Red Cross.

The new Red Cross website offers a simplified user-journey which enables users to find information about British Red Cross services at the click of a mouse. The site also carries regular updates of beneficiaries’, staff and volunteers stories, blogs and pictures. Additionally, the site ushers a straightforward pathway to almost 200 services the British Red Cross provides such as wheel chair hire, job and volunteering opportunities, care at home, training courses and charity shops.

With the new site, the charity has addressed user accessibility issues to cater for many people who have health and medical conditions that affect web use. This has been attended to through a set of stable accessibility features, as well as simplified guides for the mature users.

Aqueduct designed the site to appeal to a broad range of people, with a focus on interactive and social media. The new site has more interactive content, including video and links to the charity’s Facebook page. Prior to the inception of the project research by the Red Cross showed that two out of three visitors to its site’s previous incarnation were aged 55 or over.

The site’s infrastructure is built to handle a huge capacity of visitors and donations. This provides the charity with the ability to quickly adjust to a sudden spike in visitor numbers in the wake of a natural disaster, for example, when numbers can more than triple in a matter of hours. The site’s new underlying content management system also enables Red Cross staff to quickly and easily update content and editorial in the wake of a natural disaster.

Aqueduct also built and designed the site with a focus on usability and accessibility. These guidelines define the level of a website’s accessibility – AA and AAA are the highest available rankings, which measure the extent to which people with visual and other impairments can interact with a website.

The site’s appearance is clean and easily navigable – it has a white background with a thick horizontal red stripe running close to the top of the page beneath a prominent BRC logo. Drop down option bars including ‘What we do’, ‘Where we work’ and ‘About us’ are prominently displayed.

The homepage centres on an alternating central picture or video and headline, regularly updated to maintain the site’s fresh appearance. It features news items that provide visitors with an instant insight into how the charity is operating and where.

Each one provides a further drop down menu with sub-sections that allow visitors to quickly and accurately find what they are looking for. About us, for example, features tabs labelled according to each of the wide range of projects the charity covers, from ‘Be positive about refugees’ to ‘Community first aid’ to ‘Guns and humanity’.

The ‘In your area’ function located on the right side of the homepage invites visitors to submit their postcode and asks them ‘What would you like to do?’ They can click on one of seven options, including ‘use a service’, ‘learn first aid’, ‘volunteer near you’, ‘contact your nearest office’ and ‘find local events’.

Margaret O'Donnell, the British Red Cross head of digital media said: “We’re delighted with this clear, informative and easy-to-use Aqueduct production. The online world is a critical platform for us to communicate with people, get them involved in our work, campaigns, raise funds and offer them opportunities to work with one of the largest voluntary movements in the world. Our new site is fast, intuitive and easy-to-navigate. ”

Kim Van Woerkom, account director at Aqueduct, added: “We have created a website for British Red Cross that is crisp, clean and intuitive to use because we start with the viewpoint of the user. The site is therefore easy to navigate and features interactive media to engage the Red Cross’ wide range of audience.

“It is designed to have a huge impact on the number of people engaging with the charity online, and we’re confident it will achieve that.”

The content management system for the site is provided by technology company Sitecore.


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