It’s an evolution, not a revolution
The most common reaction to any website redesign is annoyance or frustration. Something won’t be where it used to be, or might no longer work in the same way, and regular visitors have to get to grips with the new design. In fact, I was tempted to call this blog post ‘What have you done? I liked it how it was.’
I hope you’ll agree that we’ve retained the best of the old website. I initially anticipated a more radical overhaul but the users we spoke to made it clear that they liked many of the existing features. So while we’ve made some significant changes it should still feel familiar to most of you.
I was also originally in favour of removing some of our older, less-frequently accessed content, but again the feedback from users (and many staff at the Fund) was unequivocal; they felt we had a duty to maintain our archive of publications, blogs, press releases and videos as a record of the ongoing debate around health policy and leadership. So, with a few exceptions, everything that was on the old site is still here.
Our discovery-led approach
When we started this project we didn’t know what we were going to build. There were some standard features on our list, but by and large we let our users guide us towards the design you are now looking at.
We carried out the largest chunk of user research at the beginning of the project but we frequently went back to users to test our concepts and to crowdsource views about issues such as what should be included in the list of topics. I’d like to thank the hundreds of people who gave their time to help us along the way.
Simplified, straightforward design
The most common feedback we received about the old website was that it was very busy. We made a very conscious decision to reduce the amount of clutter and to give the content more space to breathe. New ‘jump links’ on certain pages allow you to find the part of the page you are looking for more easily (see them in action here, here and here). We also increased the size of the text.
This new design makes better use of the available space on large screens, it works better on smaller screens and, I hope, is a more pleasant reading experience.
Other new stuff
There are other improvements that may not be immediately obvious.
- If you select some text a button will appear that allows you to tweet that text. Go on, give it a go!
- Search is much better than before. To be honest, it’s always tricky to get this right if you lack Google’s resources but it’s an improvement on how it used to work.
- The list of topics is much more granular, making it easy to see our work in a specific area. I’m particularly happy that patient experience and patient involvement are now separate topics, and that we’ve separated ‘leadership and management’ into clinical leadership, organisational culture, patient leadership, system leadership, and workforce and skills.
What does The King’s Fund do again?
One important aspect of this new website – important to us at the Fund, at least – is that it isn’t just a think-tank website. The previous website did a decent job of publishing reports and blogs on health and care policy but it was less good at representing other aspects of our work.
Some of the Fund’s goals are to influence nationally, impact locally and to be a valued source of information and insight. Our work in health and care policy, leadership development, organisational development and explaining health and care, as well as the library services we provide and the events we run all contribute towards these.
Operating across these areas is The King’s Fund’s ‘special sauce’: our policy work that is grounded in a practical appreciation of local systems, and the support we provide to individuals and organisations that is informed by our knowledge of what’s happening at a national level.
This new website demonstrates the range of our work; there are fewer silos and better links between related activities.
We haven’t got it right yet
Websites are never finished. A launch like this is the end of many months’ work, but it’s also the beginning of a phase in which we will develop new features and improve existing ones. We already have a long list of things that we want to do but we would love to hear your thoughts to help guide us over the coming months and years.
What do you think of the new site? Is there anything that you particularly love or that doesn’t work for you? Please add a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We should have the publications and press release feeds working again very soon. Sorry for any inconvenience.
And thanks for the feedback.