A user focused website for Buckinghamshire's new unitary authority
can benefit from new online service
from discovery to live MVP website
Our mission was to design a new website that improved the online experience for the residents of Buckinghamshire.
We collaborated with delivery partners and council teams to successfully:
- empower the digital team to lead the way in the council's digital transformation by a taking a 'user needs first' approach
- launch the new website in time for vesting day
- establishing an ongoing, trusting relationship with Buckinghamshire Council to transition legacy websites
- co-create a design system to maintain a good practice standard and user-centred approach for the website
“The tools, templates and practices that Unboxed built for us along with the confidence that they engendered within the team have meant that after they finished their engagement our team were able to continue their great work. While we miss their support, as any true partner does, they were able to make our team believe in themselves, carrying on the User Centred Design principles Unboxed started.”
Pete Parfitt, Head of Digital, Buckinghamshire Council
In 2018, the Communities Secretary announced that the five authorities of Buckinghamshire (Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Buckinghamshire and Wycombe District Councils) would become a new single unitary authority, Buckinghamshire Council.
We worked with the council’s digital team and partner agencies Torchbox and Scroll to deliver a minimum viable product (MVP) for the website.
We took a multi-stakeholder approach, establishing working processes that allowed us to manage multiple interests and collaborate with diverse service areas throughout the project. Following the launch of our MVP, we were able to review and design content for main services and publish it on the new website. Examples of teams we worked with include:
- school transport and admissions
- waste and recycling services
- planning and building
- revenue and benefits
- highways and transport
- road safety, cycling and walking
We also designed and developed new templates in the CMS for different content types, working with the content team to establish consistent content patterns to help residents navigate information online. We incorporated these into the design resources section published on the website.
What we learnt
In the lead up to vesting day, there was unexpected news that bin lorries using the new council branding and URL had to be launched before the original go live date. So we pivoted and re-scoped the MVP to meet this earlier deadline.
The Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 also meant revising the roadmap so it included helping residents during lockdown by providing information and advice on local services. We designed and developed a coronavirus support and information hub to help residents and businesses.
The trust we'd built with the digital team and the other agencies working on the project made it easier for us to quickly adapt and meet these emerging needs.
local authorities becoming one single authority
website scoring against Level AA WCAG 2.1 standard
Beyond the project
Buckinghamshire Council’s digital team were originally responsible for publishing content and there was much to learn for a project of this size and scale.
To support this we:
- embedded ourselves with our agency partners to work as one team and bring design and development expertise together through design crits as well as establish an agile mindset
- supported the digital team with developing and designing the initial phases of this digital transformation project to build in-house skills
This has allowed them to continue to transition content for other council services to the new website. They continue to use these agile, user-centred working practices to transform council services for future digital projects.
Find out more
We're always happy to share our experiences at conferences, events or through training. If you're interested in our work, email Rosanna Alam at firstname.lastname@example.org.