Implementing a business-changing platform for Oxfam

  • Client

    Oxfam

  • Services

    UX Design and Research, Digital Strategy, CMS Implementation, Software Engineering

  • Methods

    Usability Testing, User Interviews, Stakeholder Interviews, Design Sprints, Customer Journey Mapping

BRIEF

Implement a business-changing platform

To further evolve its online persence and services, global charity Oxfam set us the challenge of creating a modern digital platform for the organisation, which would also be used as the catalyst for organisational change, to be more customer centric and digitally native.

Identifying organisational challenges

We partnered with Oxfam GB in 2010 to redevelop their online platforms, with a unified user experience delivered through a new, integrated, underlying technology platform.  At the time, Oxfam faced several challenges as an organisation:

  • The diversity of their audience:  ranging from appeal donators, shoppers,  sport event participants, and professional audiences such as teachers, researchers and policymakers, Oxfam’s audiences are broad with varied needs.
  • Existing web presence: Oxfam’s growing online presence was bolted onto existing platforms and stretched past their original intention. We identified 80 websites and microsites and approximately 20,000 hand-built HTML pages!
  • Scale of organisation: Different divisions supported different audiences and split delivery responsibilities across internal divisional silos. 
  • Technology integration: With each of the divisions operating in silos, Oxfam’s tech stack had grown across the years, becoming disparate and the ownership spread across the organisation.
  • Operational change: Unifying the platforms and technologies required internal operational change to enable it. 

Complete UX overhaul

Addressing the needs of their extremely diverse audiences needed a major emphasis on user research and user testing. 

Our primary goal of the discovery stage was to:

  • Capture Oxfam’s audience segments and customer behaviours
  • Map their interaction with the organisation and their customer journey
  • Validate our thinking with users to achieve Oxfam’s business goals 

We focussed on three core areas, business, audience and technology – before creating unique user personas and mapping the customer journey through tree testing. 

A display of a potential user journey, starting from their entry point into the website through to their final steps.

Futureproofing Oxfam’s technology stack

With each of their divisions operating in silos, Oxfam’s technology stack had become unmanageable as ownership was spread across the organisation.

Initially, this level of control and freedom was a benefit to the agility of the organisation, but over time, without governance, standards or a directional technology and customer experience vision, their platforms had become a bottleneck to change and were creating inefficiencies within their team.

This barrier was magnified when we were appointed to work on the Global Identity Project and the entire digital estate had to undergo a full rebrand.

To provide governance and consistency, but maintain departmental independence and control, we replaced all the existing Oxfam GB platforms with a central Sitecore CMS to standardise the technology across the organisation and remove the gaps and inefficiencies between silos.

This technology centralisation in turn facilitated the operational changes to ways of working:

  • New iterative delivery methodologies (Lean, Scrum, Kanban)
  • Leaner documentation process
  • Continuous planning
  • Radically different management, tools and reporting
  • Improvement ‘baked’ into working processes

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