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The customer experience is the heart and soul.

Eastleigh Borough Council supports over 130,000 residents and businesses and employs around 400 staff. They provide all the usual local government services that would expect, and they face all the same challenges around budgets and cost cutting that others do.

As a core focus, Etch were asked to ensure that the customer experience for all visitors to the site was paramount, given that most people were there just to do one or two quick tasks and their enthusiasm for these was low.

It was also important that we had integrations across the site, to the CRM platform (Salesforce) and other 3rd party systems that were involved in running the council systems.

Lastly, and of no less importance was ensuring that the site was visually strong, withheld its search engine rankings and was simple to use and maintain by the Eastleigh staff.

Initially we wanted to understand how visitors to the site were using it, so we immersed ourselves into their world with some ongoing user tests.

These were carried on all types of people within the borough to ensure we had a 360-degree view of how it was being used.

Using this research and findings we built a prototype of the site and from the first few days of this being live we continued with our cycle of user testing, iterating the site, then user testing again. We did this to ensure that decisions we made were backed up with facts.

Collaboration didn’t stop at the sites users, we also ran client workshops and during design and development phases our team continued working closely to ensure requirements weren’t missed and input/feedback was sought.

The site was built in just over 4 months, from a blank canvas all the way through the research, user testing, SEO consultancy onto the creative design and development/integration work.

The site has received positive feedback across the business and is a much more manageable CMS allowing teams to generate and maintain content easier. More importantly the website has had great feedback direct from users of the site via word of mouth and the online feedback forms.

We’ve also decreased the pages visited and average time on the site by over 5%, which although unusual, was a KPI, as we wanted to ensure users found and understood content faster. In a similar vein bounce rate has also dropped by 8%.

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It is no small task redesigning a Council website when you have so much information and so many different departments. Etch helped project manage this into logical steps – always with the user in mind. We went from an unwieldy inaccessible website to a streamlined version with content far easier to find. Accessibility is an important feature for public sector website and Etch have been excellent in their guidance and advice on this matter. Additionally we needed a site that was clear and transactionally easy, but the ability to have more attractive and content rich pages too – this functionality was built into the CMS (Umbraco) and is extremely easy logical to use. We’re very pleased with the results, visits are up, bounce rates are down and our SEO is strong

— Jade Mizen, Head of Communications and Marketing