Halton Housing Lifekit
An online self-help guide for residents, providing advice, support and helpful tips in a number of aspects of life, with a focus on money matters to help with many concerns around welfare reforms.lifekit.haltonhousing.org/
Having already worked on the main Halton Housing website, Halton came back to us with a brand new concept, centred around helping their residents understand the welfare reform. They wanted something that was interactive, responsive and accessible. So that users could access information easily and act upon it.
The end goal was for residents to be able to search for news relevant to their needs; and create tasks and actions whereby each person could make steps to improve their lives in some way.
Much of these actions evolved from the Welfare Reform changes, which came into effect last year. The aim was to try and keep residents informed of changes affecting them, whilst also empowering them to make a positive change.
The target audience ranged from digital natives, to those that were perhaps more uncomfortable with technology. The LifeKit interface had to be both informative and intuitive. We decided to build this interface as a web app. Our research showed that tablets and mobile devices were popular among the Halton residents and therefore the interface had to optimised accordingly.
To begin, we wireframed the interface and created some low-fidelity prototypes. We met up as a group and gathered feedback at regular intervals. Keeping it simple was key.
After the user journeys were tested, we were able to concentrate on the design, using Halton Housing’s brand colours to differentiate between the sections. A flat design was chosen to create the user interface and to improve the functionality, as well as hopefully creating a better user experience for the end user. We decided to split the content into five key areas. The different colours and iconography helps the user understand what type of content they’re reading.
We wanted to take an agile approach to the development, so we could get the site live for user testing as quick as possible and then build on and incorporate feedback.
We built in short feedback loops, between Halton Housing and all of the different team members here.
The site was built responsively, in an object-orientated manner, which made it easier for scalability.
We also used scalable vector icon fonts for a lot of the imagery across the site. Which means this is great for accessibility and has added SEO benefits too. More device agnostic too, in that, should a plethora of future devices appear, they are more likely to recognise it too.
One important point to note is the reusability of this site. There’s an ability to scale it, so that it could act as a skeleton for other housing associations to better communicate this sort of information. The impact this could have extends beyond the residents of Halton.
This methodology supported all of the build decisions – so if you wanted to plug in more elements or remove them, the site wouldn’t fall apart. It’s all interdependent.
With the LifeKit, we had a big content task on our hands – as we had to work with existing content, but also find ways to make this truly useful for the users.
We didn’t want to replicate the information from the main Halton Housing site, we wanted to make this more relaxed in tone and have it be something easy to understand and go through.
Lots of research was done to locate local information applicable to a wide range of topics. The LifeKit provides a variety of information enabling residents to create and build CVs, have access to job vacancy links, access meal planners, see the latest local offers and see the latest tools to help save money.
We worked closely with Halton Housing to ensure that all of the information was factually up-to-date and understandable for every user.
The LifeKit launched very recently and has already had a lot of support on Twitter, as well as some brilliant feedback from residents too.
There may also be an award win in the pipeline too. Fingers crossed…