General Optical Council see the benefits of Pixl8’s web know-how
When The General Optical Council (GOC) decided it was time to refresh their website and keep it at the forefront of technology, they spoke to web development experts Pixl8, the company that designed the original GOC website in 2007. By teaming up with Pixl8 once again they knew they would be able to give their members the best possible website user experience.
About the General Optical Council
The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, performance and conduct among opticians. There are currently around 25,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses registered with the GOC. They are known as GOC registrants.
The business challenge
Following the initial website design, the partnership between Pixl8 and the GOC continued. First there was the integration with the GOC’s Integra registrant database, then the building of the internal intranet and, more recently, the setting up of an online retention processing system, allowing registrants to renew their registration without the need for paper forms.
The most recent project involved the redesign of the GOC’s entire website. As well as improving the overall look and feel of the site and restructuring content to aid navigation and overall user experience, the new website was designed with mobile browsing in mind. It is designed to be responsive, providing a website that easily adapts its layout according to the size of screen it is being viewed on.
“The key objective was to make the site more user friendly, especially for members of the public,” explains Simon Grier, GOC Acting Communications Manager. “We added drop-down menus to make it easier for people to find content and made it fully mobile compatible.”
Solutions and benefits
When the GOC site was first launched in 2007, mobile technology was in its infancy. But today around 16% of visitors to the site use Smartphones or iPads and that figure is increasing fast. The updated website can be viewed on a PC, iPad or mobile phone, offering maximum usability to registrants and the public.
“The new website design also helps us direct traffic to relevant topical content,” says Simon. “Rotating banners ease member navigation and help draw their attention to the features we want to promote. And our core functions are clearly visible in the menus rather than being hidden under ‘Our Work’ as they were in the past.”
Simon says there have been many complimentary comments about the new website from users, but a detailed survey of stakeholders has not yet been carried out.
“In general people find it easy to use. Registrant feedback in the testing phase helped us tweak page location, refine imagery and make small improvements to the site. The illustration of a fitness to practise hearing, for example, featured two men. Someone pointed out the lack of balance between the representation of the sexes on the website and we changed this photograph to include an image of both men and women".
A website that registrants are happy with is also good news for GOC staff as it makes their jobs easier. Registrants are finding things easily and the Registration team are already dealing with fewer phone calls from people who can’t find content on the website.
Pixl8 provides its clients with complete commitment from start to finish. After ‘go live’ the company aims to maintain a close working relationship with clients and ensure smooth-running web operations and happy members.
“We were really glad that the GOC pushed ahead with this project. We like to maintain a close working relationship with clients and explore new methods of communicating online to a number of different devices and audiences." says Neil Rosewarn, Creative Director at Pixl8
“Five years is a long time in the online world; the old design stood up well but it was time for a fresh look at how the site works and we were able to implement responsive technology to provide the best experience no matter what device is being used. You only have to look around on the train or bus to see how many people are embracing mobile technology and GOC’s web statistics clearly show that a large user base is mobile so this was one of the key criteria for the refresh."
“The result is a new online identity incorporating some of the superb imagery that the GOC have available which is modern and allows users to easily find what they are looking for on their desktop computer or on the move.”
"We have been really happy with the professional way in which Pixl8 have worked. They carried out the job promptly, to scope and budget and in the time frame agreed. They are a personable and friendly team, keen to help and address all requests at our"
Simon Grier, Communications Officer