Sexual Health Scotland

Sexual Health Scotland

Website refresh

For a number of years, we worked alongside the Scottish Government Health department to develop digital marketing solutions that would encourage behavioural change within Scotland. We had built the Sexual Health Scotland website for them a number of years prior and the age of the site was beginning to show from its text heavy layout and dated colour palette

Project Brief

It was clear that the website was in desperate need of some tender loving care. For such a personal subject, it felt somewhat impersonal. It was copy heavy and there wasn’t much imagery to break up the detail. We knew the web audience were likely to be worried or uncomfortable. They’d be wanting answers to questions they perhaps couldn’t ask the people around them. And they were likely to be a relatively young audience.

Following user testing and a UX audit of the site, it was evident that certain tools and information were proving hard to find. We knew that the STIs section of the site ranked highly in the session stats and we knew that our main aim was to direct visitors to 'Find a Clinic' to help them make contact with a medical professional. In addition, we wanted a fresher design with more approachable imagery that would make the site more accessible. 

The old Sexual Health Homepage

The old sexual health homepage

What We Did

We knew the overall look and feel of the site had become dated over the years so the first port of call was to update the width of the site to bring it up with modern browser/device sizes, to introduce web friendly fonts that were easier on the eye and to update the look of the site using a more neutral colour palette than the dark purple of previous years.  These subtle but effective updates allowed for a more professional, yet contemporary website.

'Ask a question' tool

From the homepage of the site we featured an ‘Ask a question’ tool that helped web visitors access relevant content quickly based on their specific circumstances rather than traipsing through the navigation. We lightened the tone of voice and shortened the context, ensuring it was clear and informative, yet friendly and encouraging that you were going to reach the content you were seeking. The results - a more coherent information architecture allowing for easier access to deeper sections of the site.

Design for mobile first

Almost 74% of all users were now accessing the site on their mobiles, compared with 21.3% when the site was launched in 2012. When considering the context of use, this is maybe not all that surprising. When accessing a site such as this, users are likely to want to find information in private, personal format, so a smaller screen size suits this need. Coupled with the advances in mobile technology, the above statistics were matching a fairly consistent pattern that we see emerging across all our websites.

The sexual health site on a phone

Whilst mobile user numbers may have been increasing, it was important to understand what they are doing when on the site. Again looking at analytics, the STI section of the site was by far the most visited section. Unfortunately however, a clear call to action to the 'STI clinic finder' was not readily available on mobile devices. A quick and subtle addition in the header of the site allowed for a one-tap route in from any web page.

Demystify the clinic

Statistics showed a slowing number of young people visiting a Sexual Health Clinic in recent years. The Sexual Health Scotland website already had an interactive postcode search function allowing web visitors to find a clinic near them, but few people were actually visiting this page. We knew young people on the website would be apprehensive about attending a clinic, simply because they didn’t know what to expect when they got there. For this reason, we developed a specific section aimed at portraying the clinic as a friendly place to go, explaining exactly what happens step by step and ultimately to tackle the fear of the unknown.

Relatable content

The previous iteration of the site was fairly dry in terms of language, as well as being inherently text heavy. We developed a very refined copy brief that, combined with an SEO development plan, lead our copywriter to speak in such a way that worked for the web audience, alliviated the fear factor and increased rankings on search engines. Imagery was always a challenge on a site focused around sexual health. Illustrative icons became overly graphic and difficult to create for certain pages and 'real life' photography seemed to be too targeted towards those featured. We wanted the site to be friendly and relatable, not too clinical, and so the idea came to us that pop-art would be the best way forward. Pop-art style imagery gave us the perfect route in to express certain subjects without having to be graphic or clinical, and again, it lightened the look and feel of the site making it more approachable.

The Results

Since the new iteration of the sexual health website launched we’ve seen improvements in a number of different areas of the site. People finding the site organically has increased thanks to enhancements made to the SEO, the number of pages that users access when visiting the site has increased thanks to the clearer way that we’re now presenting the information and the bounce rate has decreased too.

Above all though, the new clinic demystifying section that we added has gained significant use. When taken as a section as a whole, the ‘What happens at the clinic’ now accounts for over 31% of all page views on the site. The mobile friendly UI is helping too. In the past 6 months, mobile usage has gone from 71% to almost 75%, and this is only likely to rise going forward.

On the whole, the redesign and restructure of the sexual health website has proved to be popular with users. More content is being accessed than ever before, along with users being presented with a much nicer experience as a consequence of a more considered, refined UI. Whilst it’s not the easiest subject to broach, we’re happy with how we managed to tackle the subject and users are benefitting as a result.

Key Statistics

More pages accessed

Users are accessing 25% more pages than ever before

Bounce rate decrease

Users are now browsing the site more than ever before

Clinic Demystified

The new ‘what happens at the clinic’ section attracts 31% of all site users

See the results for yourself

Visit the website

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