Building our new website with young women

By Sarah, Young Women's Trust • 18 December 2020

Our new website has launched! In this blog Sarah, our Head of Digital, talks about the process, our aims and how young women guided the project.  

Why we needed a new website

I started this project in June 2019. I knew Young Women’s Trust website needed updating and I wanted to make sure I worked with young women throughout the journey to transform it 

The first thing I did was usability testing sessions with young women on the existing site. This was because I wanted to find out how they were using it and what they thought of it. They told me that they liked the bold colours and images of real young women. However, they couldn’t easily find what they needed. As one person said ‘it’s all kind of a bit jumbled’.  

could also see from our Google Analytics (a platform that lets us see how people are using our website) that around 50% of people were looking at the site on their phones. Our website was a few years old and wasn’t designed with mobile users in mind. This meant that they were not getting the best experience possible when using the website.  

This research showed me that our aim was to make the website simpler and easier for everyone to use.  

How we involved young women

As well as the technical and content requirements, it was important that young women were involved in a meaningful way through the whole project. 

Where possible our workshops included staff and young women together. We also showed young women work in progress, even if it wasn’t quite right, so they could help us shape the outcome as much as possible. 

We discussed at length the language, accessibility and the journey we wanted our users to be taken on. This took a lot of discussion and debate which was all very interesting and supportive.

Anna, a young woman who attended workshops

These are all the ways we were able to involve young women 

  • Usability testing of the old website  
  • A survey to help us understand what young women needed and other websites they liked 
  • A workshop to help us shape the brief we presented to the web developers  
  • Meeting potential digital agencies and helping us to decide to work with Fat Beehive  
  • Workshops to help us decide on design concepts and the sitemap 
  • Giving feedback on the first draft of the designs  
  • Giving feedback on the second round of designs 

We realised that in the 3 months building up the launch we would need lots of input, so we started a working group. 9 young women joined and our sessions combined learning and feedback. 

I really enjoyed being a part of the website working group, I felt that I was making a difference to Young Women’s Trust and gaining new skills about website accessibility.

Gemma, working group member

For example, in our working group session on online accessibility we spent the first half learning about why it is important. Then, we worked together on feedback for the new website accessibility statement.   

What we achieved

The website went live on Monday 30 November 2020. I’m particularly proud of how we have included young women in the process. I know the finished product is better for all the thoughtful comments and detailed feedback they gave us.  

Their help has ensured the new website 

  • Has a clear site map 
  • Has a refreshed design 
  • Focusses on best practice for online accessibility 
  • Is designed to work on a mobile  

Young women are at the heart of everything Young Women’s Trust do – and that includes the website design.

Zoe, Advisory panel member

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