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British Canoeing - Website Project

Consolidating a dozen websites into a single, coherent whole

A shared vision to create a website that acts as a fundamental business tool that will support public participation, organisational change and revenue generation as well as partner commercial value

The Brief.

To raise the profile of the sport, to increase participation and to increase membership numbers. British Canoeing briefed us to consolidate all of its existing websites into a single, coherent and easy-to-navigate website, responsive to mobile devices – under the new British Canoeing brand.  

One of the primary objectives is to make it easy for people to find out where and how to get out onto the water, so the website required integration with British Canoeing’s courses and event management system.  

The new website also needed to clearly convey the progression route in the sport, from grass roots through to elite level. 

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The Challenge.

Over the years, the organisation had more than a dozen websites, covering different areas of the sport, but with no clear articulation of the British Canoeing offer.  Many of the sites had been used as 'online filing cabinets' and had completely outgrown their architecture.

As well as being confusing for website visitors, the websites were based on different platforms and proving difficult to manage.  The content was not web ready or in a consistent tone of voice, with key messages being lost in the sheer quantity of content.  

Our methodology started by carefully segmenting the target audience into a set of 'personas', including those new to canoeing, British Canoeing members of varying levels of ability, Canoe Coaches, those canoeists enjoying the thrill of competition and those interested in the elite level of the sport.  Following an initial workshop, we also pulled together an analytical review of the existing websites to help inform our decisions surrounding content hierarchy and the prioritisation of navigation options.

We came back with a sitemap and ‘basic shape’ to the website prototype, quickly, that stakeholders could then challenge. With frequent iteration and feedback, layers of detail were continually added to the fully clickable website prototype.  

  Once sufficient detail had been added to the prototype, we were able to carry out comprehensive user testing on the prototype, with key audience groups, to ensure that they could carry out tasks and find information quickly and easily

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The Result.

A website that balances the need for extremely detailed levels of information across a wide range of potential visitors, against the need to provide an engaging user experience for each individual.

A navigation hierarchy that provide users with clearly signposted content that allows them to access the information they want quickly and easily, rather than presenting all of the options at once.

We reworked and reduced the large amounts of on-page content to ensure key messages are clearly communicated, and tailored the tone of voice to match the expectations and understanding of each of the identified visitor groups.

As facilitating participation was the key objective of the site, bcsAgency has worked with British Canoeing to create a ‘Canoe near you’ map function to sit at the heart of the website. The major internal database project will help British Canoeing make it easier for paddlers to find canoeing activities local to them.  The map currently lists clubs, but will grow to include courses, centres, environmental campaigns and events by location.

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