The Links Home, a care home based in Broadstone Poole, (a stones through from Bournemouth) got in touch with us back in the summer to look at redesigning their website. The owners (PrimeTower Properties) completely recognised that their current web presence wasn’t up to scratch and portraying their care home, which had recently been refurbished, in the best possible light to potential new residents’ families.
Why was the existing site poor?
The Links weren’t measuring traffic, the look and feel felt extremely tired and the only way people were finding the website was through a paid for listing on a nationwide Care Home directory site. Although an already thriving business, The Links saw the potential a content managed, mobile friendly website with a complete custom made design could bring them, and so commissioned us to work with them on the project. Here’s what their existing website looked like:
Here were the key considerations for us on this project:
- The website had to be extremely easy to use and navigate, as the target audience are men and women in their late 40’s and 50’s looking to place their parents into care.
- Users needed to be able to download The Links’ brochure very easily.
- Users needed to be able to see all the different types of care on offer.
- The site needed to communicate that this care home has a friendly, family feel.
Here’s the new website we launched
And here you can view the new website we’ve created: View the website
The first step for us after agreeing a new sitemap/structure for the site with The Links, was to begin producing wireframes for the key pages of the website. Wireframing the key pages of the new website allowed us to work closely with The Links to ensure that the layout and user experience was the best it could possibly be.
Here’s a look at the homepage we initially presented to them. Our vision for the homepage was to show what life at The Links was like and also the surrounding area. We proposed to achieve this by having horizontal content blocks as you scrolled down the page with large imagery and small text blocks over them. At this point in the process, we also discussed a “Postcard” idea, whereby relatives could send a personal message to their family member directly from the website. We thought this personal touch would be a nice feature on the website, but unfortunately the idea was put on hold for the time being. The homepage layout also evolved during the design phase, (which you’ll see if you continue reading) as The Links owners weren’t 100% sold that this layout focusing on life at the home and the surrounding area would make it clear enough that the home offers many different types of care.
Living page wireframe
Another key page was the “Living” page. Top level navigation pages such as this would need to communicate their message clearly though text and imagery as the user scrolls down the page.
After we’d gone through the wireframing process with The Links, we moved on to producing design concepts, showing them our vision for how their new site could look. This was a slightly challenging project in terms of the photography available to us, and more specifically selecting images that conveyed a friendly, caring, family feeling. Many of the residents suffer from dementia so it was crucial we worked with imagery that showed the residents as engaged with each other and members of staff as possible.
Homepage design concept
Our initial design concept for the care home looked like this. Our idea was that the banner at the top would cycle through the main types of care The Links offered, and then as the user scrolls down the page there would be testimonials and links to other key areas of care. We felt testimonials were crucial to the success of The Links’ website, as placing your loved one in care is a massive decision, and these testimonials could indirectly answer any objections users might have. Just above the footer we were also keen to include some imagery of “life at The Links” that users could click to view in more detail – helping to portray that ‘family’ feeling.
Another extremely positive feature of life at The Links care home is the regular events and outings they organise for their residents. We designed this page as both a calendar view of events and also a list view, with each event clicking through to a page explaining the event in more detail.
Our Family gallery
As previously mentioned, the “family” feeling was crucial to the success of the project. We set about achieving this by having an “Our Family” gallery that would be completely controlled by The Links, allowing them to upload imagery, giving users a true sense of life at the care home.
Designs for mobile
As with every web design project we work on we also wireframe and design how the key pages will adjust for mobile devices. This is crucial so we can ensure the best possible experience for users on mobile devices. Here’s a quick look as to how we saw the homepage going responsive on a mobile device.
WordPress was used to power The Links’ new website.
We were extremely careful to make content management as easy as possible and give The Links access to editing pretty much all of the content on the website. The screenshot below shows the homepage edit screen, where you can see even the main banner images, text and link text within it are editable. We think it’s really important to give our clients’ this level of control over their website. There’s even have the ability to manage and add all the testimonials that appear throughout the website. And as mentioned above, the Events calendar is content managed too, so the schedule can easily be edited and modified. The gallery on the “Our Family” page is all content managed too:
Brochure download lead capture
Another piece of functionality we recommended was regarding a free brochure download. The brochure download was available on their old website simply by clicking a link, which we thought was a waste of obtaining the details of a potentially interested party. We advised that this would be a good opportunity to capture the name and email address of potential customers and remarket to them via an email newsletter. You can see from the image below the modal window that appears once the user clicks the “Get a Brochure” button in the header. Once completed, the person is then added to a list within MailChimp, allowing The Links to market to them via email. Users can also opt-in to The Links’ regular email newsletter too.
As part of this project we also designed and developed a responsive email newsletter for the care home, in the style of the new website. This allows the care home to begin regularly sending out latest news and details of day trips their residents take, enabling The Links to connect more regularly with their customers.
It was brilliant to work with The Links care home on their new website, and we’re really excited to see how it performs. It was a challenging project, but we’re very happy with the outcome. Of course, we’re monitoring traffic on the website and we have some further ideas we’d like to explore with them (based around using a tool called HotJar) to help discover how visitors are actually using the site, as these kind of insights will prove extremely valuable for The Links. We’re also looking to help optimise the site further so it can become the number one care home in the Poole and Bournemouth area. If you missed it at the start of this post, you can take a look at the new website by clicking the button below. View the website
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