British Divers Marine Life Rescue
BDMLR was struggling with its website, it needed modernisation. It also required a portal to allow members of the public to book and pay for its Marine Mammal Medic course - the lifeblood of this national charity. It also needed an online shop to create additional revenue.
So to create a new website I assessed the needs of office staff to discover how they wanted the new website to work and what the goals of the site needed to be. From research I devised there were two main purposes:
- It needed to be a booking portal for courses
- A way to disseminate information (news) regarding the charity’s activities.
The shop and other information such as the charity's story and how people could help marine wildlife, although important, was incidental (however, in 2020, with courses curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the shop proved an invaluable source of income to allow the charity to continue its rescue work).
With the core elements in place, I devised a site strategy to address the two fundamentals: What the charity does (How we help) and what the public could do for the charity (how you can help). It was important the site visitors felt part of the BDMLR community and how they could be a part of wildlife rescue.
BDMLR is an animal welfare charity which helps marine wildlife around the UK and internationally. One of its key assets is members of the public, who call in when they find an animal. To help the public feel a part of the process I devised a mobile-friendly and very useful ID guide (mobile-friendly was critical as the user would be in the field [or more likely on a beach] when accessing the site). Identifying the animal species is a key piece of information for BDMLR medics and one most people don’t know. So as well as finding out what they can do to start a rescue off, they have the chance to relay some critical information. It helps them and helps BDMLR.
I am though, not a fan of overly-fussy sites crammed with lots of information and pleas for monetary assistance on the homepage. If chuggers are the charity collectors on the streets, then wuggers must be the online equivalent and I didn't want the BDMLR site to beg.
Building the site
Although I know my way around WordPress (the chosen platform) and coding, I find it better to get experts in to do the heavy lifting, so vetted several web development companies and chose one that suited the charity’s budget and I felt could do the job well. This project was not time critical, but was content and quality critical, so, as well as building a completely new site, it also needed to be populated with quality content that was informative and useful.
I created a house style detailing the brand guidelines as well as writing styles and information on how to use the new site. I also project-managed the build keeping stake holders informed throughout the journey.
The new systems where beta tested and the site soft launched to ensure the new elements worked correctly. Of course, with a new system there were teething problems. Some were technical issues, others were issues that arose from the new online system. I systematically worked through fixing problems and sorting solutions to ensure the site works and grows with the charity from now on.
You can see BDMLR’s website at www.bdmlr.org.uk