Did you know that the UK has almost 100 Local Enterprise Partnerships, Enterprise Zones and City Deals? Each one providing fantastic opportunities for foreign investment. The trouble is, until recently, global visibility of this wasn’t as good as it could be. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) wanted a new online platform that would solve this challenge. Our brief included the need for a ‘one-stop-shop’ for potential foreign investors to find opportunities in the UK. Searchability? Translation? Localisation? Personalisation? It sounded right up our street - so we got to work!
Remember that glorious summer of 2012? Of course you do! Not only did we have the Olympics, the paralympics, and the Diamond Jubilee (i.e. Bank Holiday galore), but it was also the year of the GREAT Britain campaign. This went on to achieve a huge amount of international awareness and, as we’re sure you’ve noticed, become a brand in its own right. The new online portal would build upon this GREAT (!) new brand to drive investment and showcase the very best of what Britain has to offer.
So that foreign investors could easily be matched with opportunities in the UK, it was vital that the portal had a powerful search function. Users needed to search for things like specific investment priorities, or a city’s area of expertise. Results would then be listed in accordance with the priority of the content - the most important being at the top. Once they’d found a potential opportunity, clear calls to action meant that users could request more information or demonstrate their interest in the investment opportunity quickly and easily. This also enabled UKTI to see the impact of the site by measuring how many users complete these actions.
Design was an important part of this project and we worked with UKTI to produce sketches and post-it wireframes right from the outset. Through regular feedback channels and an iterative design process we kept the designs from becoming too rigid. For example, as the project evolved we needed to visually represent different investment sectors and opportunities, so we designed a set of bespoke icons to be used across the site. This created a visual language that enabled users to browse sectors in a clear and consistent way. This sort of flexibility is at the core of agile project management - an approach that aligns with the Government Digital Service ‘digital by default’ framework.
In addition to features such as faceted search, multiple indexing and search engine options, we wanted to provide an interactive map to provide even greater global exposure for the investment opportunities available in the UK. Users can now click through from a pin on a map to each individual profile page for EZs, LEPs or City Deals. UKTI worked with local and regional representatives to help each one generate content that would best demonstrate their skills base. Design layers across the platform mean that each profile has its own personal theme while still remaining consistent with the GREAT Britain branding. Workshops were held with these representatives so that the technical elements of the project were always aligned with user needs, right from the start.
- Over 70 profiles are live - each one showcasing the most convincing reasons for overseas companies to invest in the UK
- The website was featured in the Sunday Times
- UKTI have seen website traffic from every priority overseas market
- In the first two months they had 4000 visitors and 10,500 page views