The brief:

The UK Energy Research Centre is an independent research body with contributors based within 20 different institutions throughout the UK.

In 2019 they approached us to develop a new website in line with their recent rebrand, which would also help them better engage decision makers and the wider energy sector, and encourage these key groups to establish a stronger relationship with the UKERC’s work.

We additionally noticed some core issues that were blocking engagement with their research. In particular, poor usability through a confusing and deep site structure, UX issues from poorly designed navigation, and wasted opportunities to provide content of value to majority important visitor segments.

Our solution

Through a Theory of Change we collectively agreed on an influential target user group: Policy Makers. With this we set a focus on restructuring the site so that they could find the evidence Policy Makers needed quickly – and in takeaway format – whilst also enabling them to take the actions that UKERC needs in order to achieve their long term goals.

Our new design and IA clarifies what UKERC actually does, showcases its expertise and works to reduce the drop-off in traffic from the homepage. (The previous iteration did not have an editorial focus and was instead hardwired to show all “latest” content, as well as Twitter feeds).

The resulting design uses a light, clean and curated homepage approach, which allows UKERC admins to give high value, evergreen content more visual priority and longevity.

Meanwhile we greatly reduced a complex information architecture, complete with unnecessary steps, which previously led powerful decision makers down confusing paths to ultimately silo’d content.

The new architecture is simple, the navigation explanatory and outwardly focused, and the relationship between research activities and their component research projects clear and easy to understand.

Finally a greatly improved UI on publication search/filtering allows key political influencers and decision makers to find the evidence that they need quickly.