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Easing organisations into a digital-first future

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Two Mac computers displaying housing sector websites

Design is an integrated process; it’s about focal points, unrestricted space and selecting the right tools to communicate a message.

In most cases, housing sector projects target the user, and when we build a platform, we’re looking to create something that fundamentally engages. For those in the housing sector, we’re also looking to aid channel shift, encourage a digital by default approach and deliver intuitive experiences to users of varying abilities. Ultimately, the user should be at the heart of development.

We encourage design briefs because they’re an excellent starting point for discussion on the overall look and feel of a platform, and they assure a consistent brand and communication strategy. They detail project objectives, aims, personas, legacy requests and general dos & don’ts.

We understand the importance of delivering a website that is not only visually appealing, but a powerful communication and business tool that adds value and cost savings to your organisation. Critically, we understand how to develop an effective strategy for engaging and delivering a real-world approach to channel shift and digital by default.

It’s also critical to consider what tasks users wish to complete on different devices: what, if at all, will they need to use a phone for once the new website goes live? Can they access the site’s full feature set if browsing via mobile compared to tablet or desktop? It’s all about maintaining fluidity and consistency, and not pointing users to different communication methods unless absolutely necessary.

Alliance Homes Group

The Alliance Homes Group is a charitable society and social enterprise working in the West of England. Their primary purpose is to provide social housing and support services within the local community.

The Group was faced with a challenge that many organisations must address in the digital age – a demographic that is, to varying degrees, inexperienced with technology as a communicative tool. A large percentage of the Group’s residents are over the age of 60 – an age bracket of comparatively slower digital uptake. The Group’s current website had been in place since 2010 – acting as a one-stop-shop for resident information. However, limited scope, functionality and a lack of user awareness prevented the Group from achieving its goals, and with an aim of having 50% of tenants engaging digitally by 2018, a change was needed.

We were appointed to deliver a refreshed responsive platform that naturally encourages residents to shift from traditional engagement methods, such as telephone or letter, to email, private messaging and social media engagement. Through card sorting exercises, wireframing and persona creation with stakeholders, we helped ease residents into the Group’s new digital-first approach with a platform that works flawlessly.

Our approach to the redesign was to offer users the best of both; combining task-driven navigation with emotional design techniques, such as distinct call-to-action labels in order to produce a platform that is appealing, engaging and capable of encouraging lasting relationships that will allow the Group to succeed in their transition.

Alliance Homes