Established in 1882, Churches of Christ is a provider of aged care, homecare, retirement living, foster care, youth and family services, and social housing services across Queensland and Victoria. One of Australia's largest not-for-profit service providers, the organisation helps more than 25,000 Australians each year.
Based in Queensland, with services that extend into Victoria, Churches of Christ provides aged care, homecare, retirement living, childcare and foster care services, all supported by its churches and community.
As a provider of services that are often sought by people during highly emotional and stressful times – such as finding an aged care home for a parent following a fall or other health event – Churches of Christ needs to be able to present clear, transparent and easy to find information in a way that engenders trust.
Although the website contained a large volume of useful information, it was not always easy for people to find and could be confusing to those who are unfamiliar with the way the sector operates.
In an endeavour to bring more clarity and customer-centricity to the site, and to align it with an organisational rebrand, Churches of Christ engaged Luminary to lead an evidence-based digital transformation.
What we did
One of the main aims of this project was to gain a better understanding of who Churches of Christ’s customers actually were, and the role of digital in their decision making process. In order to achieve this aim of creating a customer-centric website presence, and provide a well-informed foundation for the build phase of the website, Luminary conducted an in-depth discovery process.
The discovery phase kicked off with an immersion workshop to onboard the core project team. A combination of workshops, desktop research, customer interviews and surveys was then used to ascertain the site’s key personas and their needs, followed by ideation to solve discovered customer needs.
Understanding the customer
The discovery phase revealed eight key personas, including Aged Care Family Member, Aged Care Resident, Foster Carer, Home Care Family Member, Home Care Client, and Retirement Living Resident.
Among the pain points revealed by the research were:
- a lack of transparency in the information available when researching home care, retirement living and aged care options
- a large variation in the cost of care options and facilities, with no clear explanation for the differences
- inaccurate or misleading information on some websites, for example, photography and information that failed to disclose when a retirement village was under construction
- a general feeling of overwhelm when it came to comparing service providers.
“By hearing directly from customers and their lived experiences, Luminary was able to highlight key content requirements for the future build as well as deeper functionality for influential family members, for when they’re conducting research on behalf of their loved ones,” says Luminary’s UX Director, Josh Smith. “This work served to highlight the family dynamic, expectations, concerns as well as the decision making process, all documented as personas and journey maps – which Churches of Christ can now use to position itself across digital and beyond.”
Some of the new features and functionality that arose out of this process were the ability to search for homes or services based on proximity to certain locations, simplified forms to do things such as book a tour of a facility, and better guidance on seeking help in the event of an emergency.
Rethinking the Information Architecture (IA)
Using the research as a foundation we conducted cardsorting and treejack testing to establish labelling and content categories that customers expected to see upon arrival, driving them to desired content quickly where they may read about services confident that they are in the right place.
In each session, we gave participants a list of cards with the names of website pages and features. They were then asked to organise these cards into a ‘navigation structure’, which helped us understand the thinking patterns of how specific pages might be grouped together.
Based on the cardsorting, we came up with a navigation structure which we then tested with 100 people through a treejack testing activity. Participants were given 18 tasks, asking them to find specific items in the navigation. The results were promising, with a 75 percent success rate. We then made further improvements to the navigation based on these results.
A new design direction
With the IA review complete, we moved on to the design phase. Churches of Christ had engaged a separate branding agency (ET Collective) to define new positioning across its printed and physical collateral. Luminary’s challenge was to ensure that the brand identity remained consistent across digital, while being AA accessible.
Luminary translated the agency’s brand guidelines into a digital asset and style guide, covering colours, tints and shades, along with typographic choices. By setting these foundations at an atomic level, all design decisions that followed were able to scale up according to Churches of Christ’s content requirements.
Technical and SEO auditing
As part of the discovery process, we also conducted technical and SEO audits of the existing site.
The technical audit found that the new CMS platform would have to be accessible, allow for a rich editor experience, include a form builder, hide behind a CDN, and include the potential for A/B and personalised testing. The decision was collaboratively made to go with Kentico Experience 13.
The SEO audit found that the site had significant scope for improvement, with some of the greatest roadblocks to SEO success being: a lack of landing pages for specific services, poor use of H1 header tags, hundreds of broken links, and a lack of unique, optimised title tags and meta descriptions.
Built on a solid foundation of evidence-based research, the new Churches of Christ website has achieved the organisation’s key objective of being highly customer-centric, featuring clear user journeys, an easily navigable IA, and a fresh and consistent design throughout.
From a technical SEO perspective, the site’s SEO health score improved from 60 to 82 percent and no domain authority was lost during the migration. The average page load time has been reduced by 26 percent.
In the words of Churches of Christ’s Director Communications and Marketing, Steve Webster:
“What you will see, hear and feel on all 624 pages of our website are the voices of our customers… We spent considerable time and investment in understanding our customer base so we could design the website according to their needs. This included more than 300 customer engagements, including interviews and surveys, during our discovery phase. The user experience has been designed according to what the data and insights told us. The website will give users the information they need, present it in the way they want, and make it easy to find.
“After 4,153 hours of build time by our website developers and 11 months of focused effort by our team, we are so proud of the end result. And, it is really just the beginning, as we will continue to innovate and evolve the site, including adding more functionality, refining the user experience, and adding more content ongoing.”
With careful consideration given to Churches of Christ’s future requirements during the platform selection process, the stage has been set to support the organisation in scaling up and realising its future vision for the site.
Luminary have been outstanding partners at every stage of our website project. The discovery phase delivered invaluable insights and personas, far beyond the website UX. The website design is exceptional, and our new brand has been beautifully interpreted. We've been in safe and capable hands with the experienced and professional talent at Luminary.
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