Stephens Scown are a large and well established firm of solicitors based in Exeter. They had an existing website which was no longer considered representative of the organisation, in that it was cumbersome to navigate, extremely text heavy, non-responsive and visually unappealing.
Stephens Scown were looking for a service provider to design and implement a complete overhaul of their website, which successfully represented their location and brand values as a company and which increased enquiries and revenue.
Specifically, the new website was required to be mobile responsive, provide an easy to use CMS, create strong calls to action, improve the current hierarchy of information and provide a more interactive experience for it’s users.
The design of the website was to strongly reflect the core values of the company, which included a real focus on client service and professionalism whilst communicating the friendly and approachable nature of the company; the fact that 99% of Stephens Scown clients would recommend them; they are ranked highly in the Sunday Times best companies to work for; they are passionate about the location of the company and it’s involvement in the local community and lastly, that unlike many of their competitors in the sector they are keen to embrace new ideas and technology.
We were invited to attend a presentation meeting in Exeter, where we would present three design routes for the website. These would represent a ‘safe’ design, a design which pushed the boundaries of sector typical websites and a third design which was as whacky as we wanted to be.
Our first task of the project was to conduct an analysis of the website content and provide our findings and recommendations to the marketing team at Stephens Scown.
With over 500 very text heavy pages of information on the site, this was no easy task. We drew up a detailed site plan of the existing website and reviewed the content. Our findings were that the site was difficult to navigate, with several sub layers of information under each main service category and each section varied in design style. Also, the content was written in different styles, by various people and there was no cohesive style of writing.
Our recommendations were that the navigation be simplified down, so that there were less layers of sub-pages and that the design was simplified into one uniform style across all main landing pages and their sub-pages. As well as the design style, we suggested that the content was re-written in a pre-determined style, so that it was easier to read and understand.
The team at Stephens Scown set about creating a writing style guide that they distributed to each of their authors.
The Full Process
As we had an approved design for the website from the outset, we then worked up those designs across some other key landing pages, incorporating our recommendations regarding the sub-level pages on both desktop and mobile devices. Our solution to keep the sub-pages as easy to find as possible, was to introduce a simple series of clickable boxes from the main landing pages, which also appeared on all of the subsequent sub-pages, allowing the user to immediately recognise related services within each service sector and navigate between them as easily as possible.
We also wanted to ensure that there was as much interaction with visitors as possible and that all information that was relevant to a certain business service was also displayed in the most relevant way. Our designs incorporated news articles within service pages that matched the relevant service.
The overall design style chosen by the team at Stephens Scown was very focussed on photography of the region, to really reflect their passion for the local area.
The new website was built on WordPress, which provides a really flexible and mobile responsive CMS platform, allowing the team at Stephens Scown to have complete control over the content. The team are really proactive when it comes to keeping the content up-to-date through blogs, social media and various campaigns, so the CMS needed to be simple to use and extremely flexible.
In order to streamline the vast number of pages, into an easy to navigate menu of services and sub-services, we devised a menu system that only displays 7 main menu items on the home page. Rather than having a huge drop-down mega menu, we designed a menu that slides out to show all the sub-categories once the user has selected from the main menu item.
We managed to streamline the design of the pages whilst maintaining a large amount of written content by using collapsible concertina drop-down sub-menu’s within the pages themselves.
In addition to the core WordPress platform, we developed a custom ‘Find Your Lawyer’ function, which allows users to find a particular lawyer, based on location and specialism. The Find Your Lawyer function also appears on each of the main service landing pages and features only lawyers connected to that service. The lawyers profiles are linked to news items which are displayed in the relevant service pages as well as in the News section itself.
The team at Stephens Scown can easily add or edit lawyers in the CMS and assign new service categories to each of them.
A Blossoming Relationship
Throughout the duration of the project we had weekly conference calls with the team at Stephens Scown to ensure that we were all on track and to discuss any issues or questions. This not only allowed us to keep the project running smoothly, but also gave us the opportunity to really work together as a team and to get a really good understanding of the needs of the company.
The project duration was 4 months from start to finish and we worked closely with the existing website hosts to ensure that the launch went without a hitch.
Since the website was launched, Stephens Scown have decided to move the hosting of the site across to Creative Intent and we have an ongoing marketing support contract in place, which allows us to make updates to the website functionality and to work on quarterly marketing campaigns which link into the website.
Creative, friendly and responsive. Raelle, Andrew and the team worked hard to make sure our website was delivered on time and budget. We really love working with them, it’s refreshingly easy to get projects and ideas across the finish line.