Donnisthorpe Hall

Donisthorpe Hall is a care home, in north Leeds. It makes some 4 star hotels look shabby! The services for residents are exemplary, from hairdressers, cinema and restaurants to physiotherapists and specialist care wings. The team wanted a new website which presented all the qualities of the care home, along with the wider community connections. The website needed to act as a communication platform, providing news, fundraising opportunities and engagement with resident’s wider families.

What we did

Braid were engaged initially to:

  • develop the strategy and brief
  • identify agencies, and conduct a tendering process
  • assist in the agency appointment and initial project briefing

Key issues

The brief emphasised a number of core elements; to ensure Donsithorpe was up to date and relevant (i.e. mobile-friendly site) as well as ensuring the team could be self-sufficient in managing their content (open source CMS, full portability needed).

Hindsight!

After all the strategy, briefing, reviewing tender submissions, we gave our recommendations. Following appointment, we helped with the initial project launch, making additional suggestions such as use of an online tracking system for amends, creating a project definition doc, highlighting the recommended suppliers for photography and video.  We offered to proof the new site once it was ready, prior to launch. BUT we didn’t press this, and left the agency and Donisthorpe to get on with it.

The website launched but there were issues, and we were asked to review the new site. This led to a new project to ensure the agency made amends and delivered missing elements:

  • Mobile responsive coding was added
  • Pictures doctored to warm them up
  • All pages optimised for SEO
  • Third party plug in’s added/changed for higher quality
  • Hosting moved
  • Navigation methodology changed

The end result is a site that has simple usability, engagement tools, tracking, functionality and back office systems that deliver the promise of the original brief.

Conclusion

The newly launched Donisthorpe website was an improvement on the old site, but once the corrections were put in place, the site came much closer to the original vision.  The project highlighted some good learnings:

  1. Third party project management should be carried through to the end, even if that’s just a review prior to launch.
  2. Constant referral to the brief will save client and agency time and stress.

A website build is never over; sites must always evolve and clients need to understand that.