Digital Inclusion for Health was created to find an innovative, economical model and method to address online challenges in the voluntary health sector, particularly for smaller charities, community organisations and social enterprises
The scope was to deliver entry level websites to 10 organisations and provide content management training.
Digital Inclusion for Health was committed to a collaborative approach, and involved a 3 way partnership; Voluntary Health Scotland, graphics.coop and each selected organisation.
Voluntary Health Scotland organised and managed the project, and also offered support and guidance to the organisations throughout the process.
graphics coop offered the design, development, training, technical support and hosting for each website.
A key aim of the pilot was to evaluate the viability of using a ‘bulk production’ approach, that would allow maximum delivery for minimum budget.
Recruitment and Selection
Information about the project was distributed widely though VHS membership and promoted through:
- 32 Scottish third sector interfaces
- Presentations at health events including at a Braw Blether
- Articles in SCVO’s Third Force News and various health newsletters
- Blogs, websites
Participants were asked to complete an application outlining their current website, the restrictions they faced, their ideas for future development, and their capacity to undertake the work involved in creating a new website. The project received many more applications than the pilot required, organisations were therefore selected against tight criteria.
- Focused on small health groups
The project remit included 10 health charities and selection was focussed on the smaller health charities which formed the majority of VHS members and had previously been identified through VHS research as those most likely in need of website support and development.
- Need and capacity
- Selection criteria looked at organisations in most need of a new website, and their capacity to engage with the project.
Selection also included organisations that worked across the wider range of health topics and geographical areas.
After the participants had been selected and confirmed their place a consultation was undertaken which involved an initial questionnaire sent to organisations via email to gather further information about the organisation’s needs and requirements.
A follow up meeting was than arranged at the organisation’s office to:
- discuss the questionaire in further detail
- explain the project and development process
- confirm design and technical specifications
- agree timescales
- identify what was required from the organisation (images, content, hosting details etc)
- assign a key project contact
The development process followed a 6 stage process:
An online project management system was used to ensure the process was clear, easy and effective.
Each organisation had an opportunity to review it’s information structure to ensure clear and accessible navigation for users.
A sitemap was generated for each website outlining the top and sub level pages.
Sitemap, privacy and accessibility pages were also included as footer navigation links.
The design of each website was based on a generic template and customised with the organisation’s logo and colour scheme (one background and one highlight colour).
Any further customisation or design work was not included in the Digital Inclusion for Health project and subject to additional charge.
Each website was built on the WordPress platform, a versatile content management system framework that offers many extensions and features.
Each website incorporated the following functionality as standard:
- Contact form
- Responsive (viewable on all screens, browsers and devices)
- Accessible (meeting current guidelines)
- SEO (search engine optimised)
- Analytics/visitor statistics (Google analytics or Piwik)
- Back ups
The Digital Inclusion for Health project also offered the following options for each website:
- Homepage slider
- Newsletter sign up form (eg mailchimp/campaign monitor/dotmailer)
- Twitter feed
- Social media icons (linking to profile pages)
- Donate button
Additional requests were discussed with graphics.coop and subject to additional charge.
The key people developing their websites were usually the manager and the key administration person. They have busy jobs focused on managing and delivering services – they were not experts in online communication.
The typical manager spends a lot of time writing funding applications, a very different type of writing to writing for websites. Asking organisations to consider their key messages often produced pages of worth of material!
Persuading them to let go some of the words was an initial challenge!
We did not write the web content we did coach some organisations on how to write it.
To assist in identifying key info we asked the following questions
- Think about your unique selling point (USP)
- What are your 3/4 key messages?
- Who are your target audience?
- What do you want them to know?
- What do they need to know?
- What do you need them to do?
- Where do you need them to go on your website?
- We looked at eye tracking placing the key message upfront to catch the users eye.
- We used the “£10 buys 30 mins counselling session” technique”
- We covered the bite snack meal approach where the challenge was to keep the words down but to keep something that was meaningful to the users
Liberal use of service user and volunteer quotes was encouraged. Many organisations had these readily available form reviews and audits, the best were selected to promote various aspects of the service.
”I love volunteering at …” is much more powerful than the organisation saying “we need volunteers”.
Some organisations held a bank of photographs from various projects which were used throughout the website. Others relied on stock images to illustrate their services.
Links to social media pages and/or facebook and twitter feeds were incorporated where available.
Each organisation was offered 1 year of hosting and technical support as part of the project. Organisations were free to choose their hosting provider and those who chose to host with graphics.coop are free to move somewhere else after the initial year if desired.
WordPress is a popular, intuitive, easy to use content management system.
2 hours of in-house training at graphics.coop (for up to 2 people) was delivered to the 10 organisations, accompanied by an online user manual giving clear instructions and videos on how to manage content and perform basic tasks.
The Digital Inclusion for Health project was evaluated through an online survey.
Organisations were asked for feedback on every stage of the process, and the impact the project has had on their organisation.