Regular users of this website may have noticed that the site has a new look and structure. And whether you’re a new or repeat visitor I hope you like what you’re seeing on the site – we’re certainly very pleased with the new look and feel.
At the centre of our new website design is the desire to put children and families at the heart of our activity. Most clearly this can be seen in the Get Support section of the site, which features a host of information, resources and support for young people and children with life-limiting conditions, including details of our helpline, online family support group and our directory of UK wide children’s palliative care to help families find the lifeline services they need.
Lots of this content was already available on the old version of our site. But the big difference – and really the primary reason for embarking on this redesign – is that the site now gives a much better experience on mobile phones and tablets. Over the last five years the proportion of people accessing the site through their mobile phones has increased dramatically – last week around 40% of site visitors were using a tablet or phone for example – and this trend is particularly pronounced when it comes to users who aren’t based in an office. Indeed, when we surveyed families we know who have used information on our site, three-quarters of them said they’d normally access the internet through their phones. To help these users get a better experience and we have digitized all our family factsheets so that families can access information with a few simple swipes, where and when they need it – previously much of this information was only available in pdf format.
We made the the site live at the beginning of April with very little song and dance, so that we could iron out any major bugs, and it’s really pleasing that so far we’ve had some great feedback. For example, Chelsea, a young woman with a life-limiting condition who has represented Together for Short Lives (most recently in our Lifeline appeal on BBC) tweeted her approval, and this is typical of the feedback we’ve had.
The new @Tog4ShortLives website looks awesome, really neat & device responsive, could get round it better on my phone 🙂 thanks guys & gals! X
— ✨Chelsea✨ (@fewwordswoman) March 29, 2018
Our wider activity
Providing information and support to make life easier for families is just one aspect of our work. We also want to help the wider children’s palliative care sector to share best practice and learn from each other, and ultimately help support better care and a more sustainable sector. To support this goal, the Changing Lives section of the site contains a host of information on how we try to improve life for children and families by both working with politicians and policy makers to fight for better political support and funding for children’s palliative, as well as providing information on childrens’s palliative care for professionals, resources and best practice, as well as opportunities to search for jobs and events in palliative care, and information about our own work to support the development of services in the sector and raise money to support children’s hospices directly.
As a charity the site also needs to support our own fundraising activity, as we rely on the generosity of the public, corporate supporters, and trusts and foundations to continue delivering our work – the Get Involved and About Us areas tell the world about what we do and the impact we have, and how you can get involved in supporting our work further.
For Together for Short Lives members, we’ve also updated the members’ area of the site, which has been designed to clearly show how we work with those in different roles across our membership and to help users find information relevant to their own role. The members’ area now features a new member resources library which showcases the wealth of expertise our members have in providing children’s palliative care services. Members can use the library to find example policies and forms, guidelines and research as well as presentations and minutes from our member meetings and events.
Let us know what you think
Due to the way our old site was built, to deliver the mobile functionality we wanted we needed to rebuild all of the site page templates from the ground up, which is no small undertaking. The project was made possible by a grant from the John Ellerman Foundation, which has generously provided funding over three years to develop the site and enable families to get easier access to support and information. The design and development of the site was delivered by Design Culture, a London based design and digital agency, on a WordPress content management system. We’re so grateful for the support of both partners: John Ellerman Foundations for providing the investment to proceed, and Kristen, Tamsin and the team at Design Culture for their creativity, expertise, hard-work and patience in helping us deliver the new site.
We’re really pleased with the new website, and we really hope that you like what you see too – a lot of hard work and thought has been poured into the project, with the goal of making life a little easier for the young people and families who deserve all the support we can give them. If you have any comments or feedback (or even if you spot any broken links or bugs!) please use the comments below to flag them up.
Tim Young is Digital Communications Manager at Together for Short Lives.