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Advertising Standards Authority

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the independent regulator of advertising in the UK. They also have a sister organisation, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which writes the rules and provides guidance for the advertising industry.

Previously, the two organisations had separate websites but, when they wanted to consolidate the sites and better integrate their other systems, they knew they had to look for an agency to support. One that could help with multiple system integration, extensive content tagging and the design challenge of representing two brands equally on one new website.

The Challenge

The merging of two significant and complex sites whilst respecting both brands was the initial challenge. “The ASA is much better known than CAP but both are equally as important so it was vital that the committees and councils for the two organisations were happy,” explains the ASA’s digital specialist and website project manager, Jonathan McLellan. “We didn’t want one brand to dominate over the other.”

Pixl8’s design team understood this and came up with a clean and clear way of presenting both brands equally throughout.


User Experience & User Testing

Through research the ASA identified that the usability and user journeys of both sites could be improved. “We talked to staff, conducted surveys through the websites to reach external customers and looked at Google Analytics to see how people were using the sites,” expands Jonathan. “We could see they weren’t offering what people wanted and needed, especially considering how important the sites are to what we do. 98% of advertising complaints come through the site and that’s the main part of our business.”

To ensure the new new site met the needs of both the advertising industry and the general public, Pixl8 arranged external user testing via City Interaction Lab at City University. The extensive testing sessions verified that both CAP and ASA visitors could find what they wanted with ease. It also clarified the content tagging and taxonomy system that had been developed.


System Integration

Another challenge for Pixl8 was the integration of four other systems with the website - Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, Sage Pay and a bespoke complaints database. These systems had been integrated with the old sites but in a simple way that meant an outage of any system affected website availability.

“One of Pixl8’s specialities is systems integration and that was one of the reasons they won the pitch,” says Jonathan. “They’re very creative in their approach. They’re able to look at all the systems and come up with some good solutions. The SharePoint integration was especially complex and, despite some internal delays, Pixl8 worked to adjust the delivery schedule and support us with tools for testing.”

Content Migration & Management

The third challenge was all around content. Namely, creating a uniform taxonomy that worked across all types of content on both sites and that would bring all the silos of content together for an improved user experience.

“The old sites didn’t have any content tagging at all,” says Jonathan. “Content was also in silos across both sites so a user needed to know all the different content types and topics available that could help them. Advertising is a huge subject area and we had to develop a taxonomy that covered everything but was still fairly flat. Once identified, the taxonomy was added to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which now feeds the website. Pixl8 were also able to migrate all the content from the old Sitecore CMS, autotag it according to the new taxonomy and upload it to the new site.”


From a visitor’s perspective, the new site is much more intuitive to use with related content easier to find and a fully responsive experience on mobile and tablet. “With the old sites there were separate mobile versions so any changes had to be made twice, which invariably didn’t happen, meaning that the mobile site was always out of date. Now any changes happen for all audiences on all devices instantly.”

And it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for CAP or ASA information, both sit together neatly on the site. “Everything is now easy to find; customers don’t need to know about how we work internally to find different types of information on a topic,” says Jonathan.

In Preside the ASA now has a content management system that is much more intuitive to use than the previous CMS system. “It’s very clean, modern and intuitive,” continues Jonathan. “People aren’t afraid to use it. Some users even prefer to enter information via Preside rather than the CRM and, because the data flows both ways, they have the flexibility to do that.”

This means that all ASA and CAP employees are now empowered to manage the website and its content themselves rather than relying on one or two members of staff with HTML coding experience.

When asked about what it was like working with Pixl8, Jonathan says, “The main thing that has stood out for me is Pixl8’s proactiveness, willingness and flexibility. Their technical experience together with their design experience makes them pretty unique.”

Take a look at the new ASA website design at and see for yourself.

Whether you have established requirements or need assistance in creating a business case for digital, we’re happy to help. Contact us for more information