How we streamlined operations and increased user engagement by consolidating National Grid’s 100+ websites.
Through a comprehensive programme of discovery, audit, strategy, design and development, we defined an intuitive web architecture that helped National Grid rationalise their vast digital estate.
Over time, the number of websites created by National Grid across their business units grew to more than 100 across various digital platforms and CMSs, creating confusing experiences for internal and external users alike. For internal audiences, the sheer volume meant there was no strategic approach to content, often leading to duplication, lack of engagement and inefficiencies. In addition, the use of so many platforms and CMSs created technical challenges around both governance and maintenance. For external audiences, it was affecting their engagement with vital content.
With the critical role that National Grid has to play in UK Plc and the race to Net Zero, it was extremely important that we worked together to create a first-class online presence that was joined up, concise and relevant.
National Grid had chosen Acquia for its multi-site capabilities and wanted to work with a partner that understood how to create a strong and uniform theme across their multiple sites. Thanks to our experience of working in partnership with Acquia, we were appointed to lead the programme (which spanned strategy, UX, UI, IA, content strategy and technical architecture); and supported Acquia with the technical implementation of our recommendations.
Aware of the critical timings the client team were working with, we launched straight into our 10-day quick start immersion process, meeting with stakeholders across the business, digesting documentation and running workshops in parallel across disciplines.
From there, we conducted quantitative and qualitative audits of their content and made a series of recommendations for UX, content and technical architecture, each of which then became a workstream in its own right.
Weekly sprints and sprint demos meant we stayed focused on short-term milestones, anticipating and addressing any project blockers along the way, iterating and adapting to make sure we hit the final deadline.
In the final toolkit, we provided National Grid with:
- An IA approach that included:
- Navigation patterns to help interpret and deliver complex sitemap structures
- Different levels of sitemap to accommodate the multi-layered nature of their sites
- Content strategy, including guidance for ongoing content governance and recommendations for new content based on SEO analysis
- Component audit and gap analysis to understand which of their existing components was fit for purpose and where there were gaps
- New component design
- Migration toolkit, which demonstrated the ways in which the different components could flex to support the migration of sites to the new platform
- Design guidelines/toolkit
The consolidation work is a long-term project, which is still ongoing. The outcome of this initial strategy piece was effectively a framework that National Grid continues to use to support this work. As a complex business with lots of moving parts, this framework has helped them find more efficient ways of working as they strive to be a digital centre of excellence.