Case Studies

​Northamptonshire Country Parks

An image based website which follows the First for Wellbeing branding.

 

Northamptonshire Country Parks (a First for Wellbeing service) wanted a new and improved website with a modern look using different branding and a new logo. The old site sat on the Northamptonshire County Council website platform but they decided they would like more flexibility with the design. We therefore built their new site as a micro site (a website that sits on the NCC website platform but doesn't follow the NCC branding).

The key objectives of the project:

  • For the site to be very visual, using action shots of people having fun in the parks
  • To improve the navigation and reduce the amount of pages – previously 35 pages for 6 parks
  • Promote the different activities you can do at the parks
  • Inspire families to go to the parks
  • Promote the additional services that they offer
  • Follow the First for Wellbeing brand guidelines

 

 

"The images add so much value and I like the clever way you have arranged them, like the montage at the bottom of Brixworth Country Park… the man on a motorboat... This helps to make the country parks website truly attractive."

Lawrence Mburu

Northamptonshire County Council employee

Our approach

We would usually follow a set user centred process when migrating websites (looking at the website statistics, creating user needs, testing the navigation using card sorting and scenario exercises, etc) however, the website is so simple and small we already knew what the navigation was going to be, so we did not need to do this, giving us more opportunity to focus on the design.

Photography

The service wanted users to feel as though they were already visiting the country parks once they were on the website and we knew that to achieve this we needed to use earthy colours and lots of images of trees, but we didn't have any.

We decided to go to each country park and take the photos ourselves. We were working on this site throughout the summer holidays, so we managed to get action shots of families having fun. As well as taking the photos we did a lot of Photoshop editing to enhance them. The service also hired their own photographer who took some lovely landscape shots which we were able to use.

Going to each park and taking photos really helped with our research as we were able to see exactly what each of the parks' selling points were.

 

​Inspiration

We had a completely free hand when it came to designing the look and structure of the website. We played with lots of different wireframes and mock ups until we discovered a great structure on another wedding website.

We were mainly inspired by the amount of white space and large appealing images on the website and knew that this is exactly how we wanted to design the Northamptonshire Country Parks website. To create a good design, you need inspiration.

 

​We had meetings with the service every fortnight to keep them engaged with the project

​Building and completion

Building the website is the easy part but takes a little while to do. We knew there would be a lot of images and carousels on the country parks site and every single one of the images had to be optimised. This reduced the loading time of the website. We also did a lot of Photoshop work to add some graphical, finishing touches to the site.

Mobile testing

When building any website, specifically when it contains a lot of different features, you have to ensure that it works correctly on mobile devices. We had to ensure that all of the images were aligning and displaying correctly on the mobile as well as on the desktop. This entails a lot of trial and error.

Have a look at the Northamptonshire Country Parks site and see for yourself what a fantastic asset the parks are to our county:

Northamptonshire Country Parks 

Designed by Leah Thompson, built by Lucy Cox
Web team, Northamptonshire County Council