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Prospect & Bectu

Support-focused trade union websites helping those affected by issues at work

Visit the Prospect website

The brief

To redesign, improve UX and increase the depth of service offered by the websites for the UK trade unions Prospect and Bectu.

This meant:

  • Slashing existing, competing content priorities
  • Focusing the offering on providing value to new members in the form of easy-to-understand advice and support
  • Surfacing the unions’ best advice, taking it out of PDFs or buried web pages
  • Providing flexibility in layouts for content creators
  • Cutting the bounce rate
  • Improving the websites’ presence in search

The client

Prospect is a trade union which supports and represents more than 145,000 members across agriculture, broadcasting, education, energy, public services and more. Bectu, a distinct sector that sits within Prospect, represents some 40,000 people working in the creative industries.

Together they support people facing serious issues in their workplace, cover members’ legal expenses, offer career development opportunities, and provide other trade union services.

Our solution

 

A series of Outlandish-led scoping workshops developed a new information architecture and content structure that focused on supporting users with answers to their work issues. Meanwhile a mini-design sprint identified key target users, their pain points and creative solutions

From here we developed an interactive prototype which the clients could explore and share with their key stakeholders.

The approach emphasised the attitudes of “simple”, “clean” and “fast”, with the new design and IA meeting the objective of supporting people to ‘get on at work’ as quickly as possible.

This meant a focus on surfacing immediately digestible support articles, and, learning from the excellent work done by the Gov.uk team, content was concise, ‘nuggetised’ and optimised for search. Meanwhile, imagery was sparse.

With the two unions having so much shared content and a largely identical site structure, we implemented a single WordPress CMS that powered two front end websites. Content creators can now decide which site (or both) to post support articles and other content to, reducing the overhead across the two unions’ digital teams.

Meanwhile, our Rowbuilder framework allows admins to customise page layouts whenever their content needs call for something unique.

 

The impact

Since launch, the change has been dramatic:

  • Time users spend on the site has increased 138%, from an average of less than 30 seconds per visit to 66 seconds per visit
  • The number of pages viewed per visit has increased by 57%
  • The bounce rate has been slashed by 21%

Together these stats suggest that the site is providing real value to those seeking answers about issues at work.

And beyond the numbers, union workers have been impressed. At a recent union conference delegates were heard discussing Prospect’s impressive “start-up” feel website. Notions of hipsters aside, we take this to mean that at last there is a trade union website that feels modern, direct and champions providing real value to its users.

Moving forward

There is still a great deal that can be done. Our follow-on roadmapping workshops have plotted:

  • phases of work to create design systems of common site elements, allowing new pages to be designed and built even faster;
  • improved offerings for existing union members;
  • and, very excitingly, major enhancements to the way that union branches, reps and members can organise and communicate

Helping trade unions with their digital web presence is something that we are especially proud of here at Outlandish. In fact, we’ve been calling for change in the way unions do digital for ages.

So if you work with a union and are taking stock of your digital presence, or if your organisation needs to provide better resources to your service-users or members, let us know. We’d love to hear from you.