This was my final project a Senior digital designer at Made Open (Sea Communications at the time). A great project to go out with a bang.
Cornwall County Council required an improved online presence for the fantastic Adoption and Fostering teams. The existing online offering resided deep within the council site. It didn’t excite or entice potential adoptive or foster parents. Third party companies like Families For Children were gaining better exposure online.
With Rob Woolf, his Made Open team, and myself, we set out to make an attractive and emotive offering. Key objectives included:
- Highlight both the benefits and challenges of adoption and fostering. Strong photography with a big ‘face ratio’ provokes and emotional response, while true and honest videos give real life insight.
- Remove any inaccurate preconceptions. We achieved this through a ‘Mythbusting’ page, and real stories from families.
- To highlight the incredible lifelong support adoptive and foster parents receive. We feature this section on the homepage and it is clearly accessible in navigation.
- Provide a clear way to get in touch with either the adoption or fostering team.
- Tie in with existing print material.
The latter was a challenge. There’s no real logo or brand, and the material was not visually exciting. I was, however, able to use the pink and purple, attaching a colour to the adoption section and fostering section. Details such as the uneven line on the homepage Mythbusting section, and the hearts used to highlight headings in content, are a nod to existing material. Repurposed for the web and in an attractive way.
Using @font-face I was able to match the heading font. It’s not a font I would have chosen normally, but works ok with Arial as the body font. And most importantly, it ties in with existing print material.
Starting with small screens, the layout adjusts dependant on screen size. Meaning from phone to TV, the site will look great. This is an example of ‘the best design being invisible’… it ‘just works’. Users do not need to think in order to use and enjoy the site, it adapts to them.
Pages have various header options – images and text, video and text, or just text. Quotes or not quotes. With attribution or not with attribution.
Providing this kind of simple administrative flexibility makes it quick and easy for clients to make changes themselves.
Key functionality of any website must be simple, and have an obvious flow. The two contact forms here are the same in structure, but send messages to the appropriate department. Although they work closely, sending email to the right team in the first place is a time saving efficiency.
Clarity for the user is achieved through separate buttons, colours and text. Radio buttons are large clickable or tap-able areas for touch screens.
The site is an example of simplicity, usability and attractive aesthetics while maintaining consistency with existing print material.
Once again, Geoff made an excellent contribution to the Adopt in Cornwall project as lead designer and developer. The simplicity with which he understands a brief, interprets it and produces something better than we had originally envisaged is always impressive, and it’s why we enjoy working with him. – Robert Woolf, Director of Made Open
Check out adoptincornwall.co.uk.