Inside a values-led organisation

Excerpt from the talk I prepared for the launch of the inaugural Coburg Children’s Centre website. Enjoy.

Coburg children's Centre website

“Today we’re launching the first Coburg Children’s Centre (CCC) website.

Something missing?

It’s unusual to launch a website with a criticism of your client… but I think there’s something missing I’d like to point out.

The Centre’s philosophy statement is: Coburg Children’s Centre is a nurturing community made up of children, families and staff. In our nature-based setting we value diversity, wellbeing, learning and development, environmental responsibility, and fun.

What’s missing from this statement text is something really important that underlies work at the Centre: “seriousness”.

You only need to spend 2 days with Marlene and Michelle going through web content line by line, to realise how seriously they take the CCC endeavour.

Many organisations mouth platitudes about being ‘values-led’ but at CCC they really are.

The Centre’s ethos underpins everything they do – from fees to food to fun to the future of the Centre and the planet, and everything in between. That’s not to say they get everything right all the time but that they have great systems ready to swing into action to fix mistakes and improve as they go.

I can prove it

When I asked parents and staff to rank the five things they wanted to find out about and do on the new website they chose ‘philosophy and values’ first. This makes sense, as a parent you need to find out more about these things – the values permeate all the systems at the Centre – so you need to know about them.

My respondents ranked ‘child behaviour and development’ as second. Of course you’d trust the staff and educators at CCC to help you understand what’s happening for your children – they’re the leaders and authorities in the field.

Third, parents wanted to know about the children’s programs. And why not? The programs are carefully designed with parent and educator input and thoroughly considered.

Fourth, was about the rooms and fifth was practical – how to on-sell your bookings.

Once I knew what parents were interested in, I asked the same people to help me structure these interests into the site via an online ‘card sort’. I looked at what items they categorised together and what language they used for the categories.

The website is designed to be easy to maintain, it’s built in WordPress and has 22 pages excluding the home page, 30 images, 3300 words and an average of under 160 words per page. Which makes it quite wordy but there’s a reason for that…

Not a brochure

Unlike some equivalent sites, this website isn’t a business card. It’s not a brochure and it’s not a sales prospectus.

It’s part of the Centre’s services. It’s an extension of the excellence they provide in Childcare. It has to be authoritative. It’s fully referenced both internally and to important external websites. It’s a living document that the Centre can easily maintain and improve as they go – something I know they will do.

I’ve learnt a lot about values-based management from CCC which I hope to continue in my own business and personal life.

I hope you’ve learnt something from me. About F pattern reading, how visitors scan for keywords and about online accessibility.

Thanks for giving me the chance to work with you to develop your first website.”


Plumbing Careers website launches

Plumbing Careers external link icon, the apprenticeship marketing website for Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria and Master Plumbers launched early December 2012.

Red Bridge Web designed the information architecture and navigation using customer research and testing methods. We briefed the software developer and visual designer and wrote all the content.

The great thing about the Plumbing Careers project was that customer research and testing drove all the design decisions, making it the quickest and most hassle-free web project Red Bridge Web has ever been involved in.

Master Plumbers Communication Manager and the project’s manager, Melissa Chrys, was happy with the results saying,

I engaged Malcom to develop all the navigation and content on our Plumbing Careers website. Working with Malcolm was a pleasure. He was extremely effective in collaborating with our web developer and graphic designer and his contribution made my job as project manager totally hassle free. Malcolm understood and followed our brief and we only required a few meetings to deliver the project on time. I can recommend Malcolm’s work on web projects – he’s a great team player and offers expert assistance. I certainly look forward to working with him in the future!

Melissa went on to say, “Everyone here is very impressed with the site – Ken (CEO) said you’ve done an excellent job!”

Playwright project

Melbourne playwright, Michael Olsen, is prolific to say the least. He’s penned over 50 plays – from one act, one person plays to full cast, full length dramas. The sheer quantity of the work presents a problem for organising his website. Finding the play, or the type of play, you are looking for is a challenge.

Michael had several goals for his website: to sell plays and promote his work within the theatrical world. There was also a list of things that had to go on the website such as licensing and copyright for staging the plays.

We started with a long list of things that people might want to do on a playwright’s website based on Michael’s goals and other playwright’s websites. We whittled that down, focusing on keywords and the most obvious tasks.

Next, and most important, we tested these tasks with – you guessed it – humans! And what we discovered was a real focus on three things…

  • the latest news, reviews and performances
  • the plays themselves
  • Michael!

Now, back to the drawing board. More testing to structure these tasks and as a foundation for the content creation… some more great results.

What Red Bridge Web has delivered: a comprehensive sitemap, content outlines for all pages and wireframes for all the main pages.

Also, we’ve procured a competitive quotes by a professional WordPress developer and  graphic designer for the next stage of the project. We’re almost there and I’ll keep you posted on the final result.