The Salvation Army provides assistance to people in need across Australia’s cities, country towns and rural communities. Its welfare services include aged care, youth, family and domestic violence, alcohol and drugs, disaster recovery, employment, homelessness, parenting programs, and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. In addition, the Salvos run op shops, chaplaincy, international development partnerships, a training college and The Red Shield Defence services, which provide support to Australia’s Defence Forces.
The Salvos’ website serves as a key source of information about its services, as well as playing a critical role in facilitating the donations that allow it to provide these services.
With so many services on offer, managed by different teams within the organisation, the challenge was to provide a consistent digital experience that would address the needs of all users, while presenting a large volume of information in the most consistent and user-friendly way possible.
In order to achieve this aim, the Salvos engaged Luminary to undertake a deep discovery exercise to lay the foundations for a future website build.
What we did
The initial phase of this project focused on gaining a comprehensive understanding of the needs and digital behaviours of the Salvos’ key audiences, including donors, volunteers, clients and followers.
Using a combination of focus groups, workshops, interviews, and surveys, Luminary helped the Salvos gain a thorough insight into its users. This resulted in the development of distinct client personas as the basis for digital user journeys, which were consolidated in the form of an Integrated Experience Map, highlighting the way people use the site. During this phase of the project, we also examined technology requirements and platform options for the website build.
The next stage of the project was about translating what we had learnt in the first phase into detailed requirements and opportunities. It involved reimagining the structure of the site, making sure it was user-led and would improve the experience of finding services or triaging people to get support quickly, improving donation flow, navigation, support services flows, donation flows, and global navigation. This was informed by cardsorting workshops with clients as well as online treejack testing with donors and volunteers.
At the same time, we conducted ideation workshops with key stakeholders to ascertain priorities for improvement, which were then used to design wireframes and heat flows.
The outputs from this phase of the project were a content audit and strategy, a new Information Architecture, wireframes for user testing, a digital roadmap of recommended website features, and an indicative journey map for key landing pages.
The main aim of a comprehensive discovery project is to set the build project up for success by understanding and solving the right problems, rather than blindly forging ahead in the wrong direction. This project has given the Salvos the tools and insights it needs to produce a website that truly addresses the needs of its users.
Some of the key recommendations to come out of this project were:
- Updating the overall content strategy with a focus on showcasing the breadth of the Salvos’ services
- Providing quick and easy access to urgent/critical care or support for clients in crisis situations
- Reducing the complexity of the site for clients to make getting support easier, particularly in the context of stressful moments
- Introducing appropriate information for where people are in their support journey, recognising that the way people interact with digital channels changes when they are in the midst of an emergency compared with pre or post accessing services
- Providing multiple pathways to aid people in finding services
- Optimising for mobile and recognising that mobile is a lifeline for clients
- Placing greater emphasis on social media as a key storytelling tool for donors and volunteers in the acquisition phase
- Repurposing existing digital content to answer online queries from clients and supporters
- Updating the overall website strategy to focus on a broader range of client needs as well as continuing to facilitate donations
- Showing the impact of donations and making outcomes feel more tangible.
Working alongside the team at Luminary to unearth the requirements for our national website redevelopment has been a pleasure to date. I’ve been impressed with their ability to navigate complexity, be curious while showing sensitivity, adapt to our evolving environment, and to know when to respectfully challenge or accept immovable constraints.
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