Mind: Forming a digital strategy partnership
Sigma helped the Mind project team to combine their latest user research, the goals from their digital strategy, the aspirations of a wide range of internal stakeholders, and current analytics, to create a road map and specifications for an agile design and build project.
Duration: 4 months for Discovery,
2 years and counting for ongoing service transformation
6 minute read
What we were asked to do
As one of the UK’s largest mental health charities, Mind wanted their online offerings to better meet the needs of those interested in seeking help with their mental health, supporting the charity, or finding out more about their work. In late 2017, Mind appointed Sigma to help them develop and deliver a new digital strategy, building upon their existing research, with a particular focus on increasing donations, improving engagement through a new website, and transforming the service offered by independent, local Mind offices.
The key objectives of this project were to:
- Increase engagement with supporters and key stakeholders
- Analyse and improve how the charity communicates with its online users
- Develop a new donation flow that increases conversions and revenue raised through online donations
- Migrate the website on to a new, Open Source CMS (Umbraco) to provide a better editor experience and a more robust platform upon which to deliver the digital strategy
- Create a new website that delivers the best possible experience, for a diverse range of users, whose needs often change significantly over time
- Understand some of the barriers to providing digitally enabled services at a local level and to design new solutions or services that would overcome them
It was also important that the project:
- Fitted in with Mind’s wider digital strategy
- Provided added value by helping Mind’s Digital, Information and Fundraising Teams to think differently about their content in order to provide better information to people
- Improved the delivery of the information on the Mind site to make it as clear as possible for people who may be experiencing mental health issues
The feedback on the newly designed site from users has been amazing. We’ve seen a greater uptake and engagement with key information, campaigns and events, as evidenced by site analytics. Most tangibly, we’ve delivered an increase in average monthly donations of >70%.
We’ve delivered integration points and processes with the SagePay payment gateway, Dotmailer platform, and MS Dynamics CRM system, which have greatly improved the cohesion of the overall digital architecture and made management of the ecosystem easier for Mind’s internal IT team.
Sigma managed a very smooth transition of the support service for the ‘old’ website from an outgoing partner to Sigma, with no downtime, and implemented a new Continuous Integration/Continuous Development environment and hosting infrastructure based on MS Azure. We provide a robust and highly responsive 24x7x365 support and optimisation service which has given the Mind team confidence and the ability to evolve and optimise the site through a flexible retainer service for this part of the contract.
We are proud of the information and advice our website offers and delighted to be working with Sigma to ensure we are able to reach even more people and achieve our supporter growth ambitions.
We wanted to gain an appreciation of the groundwork that had already been done, to conduct further research, to understand the project’s critical success factors, and to map out a technical and user experience approach to delivering the new site. We spent time learning about the organisation, including its business strategy and its stakeholders, so that our work would fit into the business goals and have meaningful impact.
Using insights from our user research, our co-design workshops and our stakeholder engagement workshops, we created an experience map or service blueprint that presents the outcomes we’re trying to achieve (against specific CSFs or Critical Success Factors), mapped on to interventions we intended to make (new website features or service elements we’re going to design and build), which address specific user needs (as identified in personas).
During phase 1, we produced a design pattern library and several prototypes, and we re-designed key site pages and features. We also created a detailed set of technical, functional and architectural specifications, in preparation for building the new site to be hosted on Umbraco and transitioned the ‘old’ (current) site into our support service.
In phase 2 we took the outputs of the discovery and strategy phase into the delivery of a fully agile project to design and build Mind’s website. The experience map was instrumental in prioritising the work we delivered, informing the goals for each sprint.
We designed and built a new donation process (based on data analysis and redefined user journeys) that is simpler, clearer and more compelling than the current version – this has had a dramatic impact on conversions and an uplift in donation revenue. We also developed new fundraising and events features, including Just Giving integration, and revised information pages for supporters and people seeking help, including those in crisis.
We released new features and content as they were ready, rather than having a ‘big bang’ approach, so it was important that the new pages work seamlessly alongside existing features. For a more in-depth look at our approach, you can read our Senior UX Architect, Francis Rowland's thoughts on "How to design for people struggling with mental health".
We also recognised that the auditing, redesign and migration of Mind’s content from one CMS to another, and more importantly from one way of thinking to a new, more user-centred way of thinking, was a major undertaking. We worked closely with Mind teams at departmental level, and in the digital and information teams, to audit, evaluate and redesign content across the organisation so that it is more modular, easier to understand and act upon, and can be managed more easily in the CMS. We embedded two content specialists in the Mind team for 9 months, one to lead the content strategy and migration project, supporting Mind teams strategically and establishing a new governance approach for content across the charity, and another content designer to add capability and capacity to a stretched team.
We’re continuing to work on the ongoing redesign and development of the website – our work and our approach has been instrumental in establishing a product mindset rather than a project mindset inside the organisation, where digital efforts are seen as part of an ongoing evolution of products and services rather than a finite project that is ‘done’ at some point.
We’re currently working on the transformation of children and young people’s service provision, with digital engagement at the heart of it, on a radical overhaul of the site-wide search function, and on a broad range of other features and requirements which are prioritised in our collaborative backlog and delivered in a flexible, agile way as a single, combined Sigma-Mind team.
Eve Critchley and Gareth John of Mind spoke at Sigma’s Camp Digital 2018, sharing some of the challenges they faced in developing and beginning to embed their digital strategy, and some of the initiatives they’re taking forward to offer a better experience for users and staff.
Watch and listen to the talk below: