Project Case Study: Options for Supported Living

Vincent Atanasov

6th December 2016

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Options for Supported Living are a registered charity providing innovative and flexible support to people who have learning disabilities, autism and acquired brain injuries. They have been providing the best in community-based supported living for over 20 years – providing support whilst giving people the independence to live their own lives.

Their Community Outreach platform supports people by promoting community inclusion through voluntary or paid work, college and social activity, and by offering valuable respite for families and carers.

Their old site was outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

They needed a new website that brought a better experience for site visitors and simplified the navigation process so those who needed their support could find what they were looking for easier.

Approach

We developed a fully responsive, mobile optimised website to engage with the people Options support on a daily basis. The site includes the core existing functionalities from the previous website, including a secure staff login area. It boasts a friendlier design to fall in-line with Options’ new branding materials and streamlined navigation to provide a more logical site journey for the user.

The process of simplifying the site’s navigation was a key part of the development of the new site. We sat down with Liz and Ali from Options for an in-depth planning session, where we went through every page on the old site and deciphered which pages needed to be included, and which were just filling up unnecessary space.

After a productive session, we whittled down to just the necessary pages, which gave us the information we needed to move forward with building the new site.

When it came to designing the site, we drew inspiration from Options’ existing branding and communications material, which had recently gone through a refresh, to unify the Options brand through its digital presence.

We took elements of the curved, friendly font and echoed this around the site to tie the whole design together. For example, we used new CSS and SVG techniques to create a curved box menu rather than a standard rectangle shape. These little touches subtly provide a digital representation of Options’ welcoming and open nature.

Options Homepage Screegrab

Options are a personal organisation who see the people that they work with as people rather than numbers, so it was important that we made this clear from the moment people landed on the site.

We added four sections to reflect four different needs of people looking for Options’ support – ‘Your Support’, ‘Supported Living’, ‘Outreach’, and ‘Families’. These clearly marked out sections help site visitors find the information that is relevant to them quicker, rather than having to trawl through the site. The high quality nature of Options’ support is now reflected online.

The main focus when building the site was that it had to be usable. This logical and simplified navigation setup allows for this perfectly.

Options Content Screengrab

The site also has a section dedicated to keeping people in the loop with what’s happening at Options – including blogs, news and success stories. Again, this highlights the personal and engaging nature of the support Options provides.

Due to the nature of the Options' support, making the website accessible to everyone had to be at the forefront of the build. Not only does the new website fully meet the WCAG 2.0 (AA) best practice accessibility standard, but also has handy features such as an easy to access increase/decrease font size button.

Options About Us Section Screengrab

We also user tested the site to ensure that it was as usable and accessible as possible. Based on the feedback we got, we made improvements to the mobile version of the site so that the menu functionality was as user friendly as possible.

Overall, we have developed a welcoming, user-friendly website to help Options continue their work providing the highest standard of support for the people they help on a day-to-day basis.

Impact

We loved working with Options to provide them with a friendly and supportive digital offering, and help them to continue empowering and enabling people with disabilities to live their lives to the full.

“We’ve loved working with Mashbo. They’re friendly, professional, fun, and you can see the whole team has a genuine passion and enthusiasm for what they do.

We were really excited when we saw the final website – it was everything we had hoped for – brilliant design, strong brand, and easy to navigate.Along the way, the team have communicated updates in a straight forward manner and have kept us in the loop with everything they were doing.

The speed at which the team delivered the project was also excellent and we would recommend Mashbo to anyone looking for a digital agency. We’re looking forward to seeing what the new website does for Options and our work in the future. A big thank you from us at Options!”

- Liz Martin, Marketing & Culture Assistant, Options

View

To view the Options website, please visit optionsforsupportedliving.org/