The National Lottery Promotions Unit is an independent organisation set up in September 2003 to raise positive public awareness of National Lottery funding for Good Causes. Over £33 million is spent on Good Causes each week; with an average of 120 projects per UK postcode.
NLPU aimed to increase the knowledge of lottery funding and encourage lottery players to make the link between lottery spend and the social/cultural/economic investment in their community.
After a competitive tender process, Numiko was chosen to create a new website, which would become an inspirational and accessible hub for all information about the Lottery Family.
"We’re delighted to be working with such a great team at Numiko. We’ve been impressed by their creativity, eye for design and how quickly they understood our brief. They’ve already made a major contribution to our work educating National Lottery players about how their money is changing lives around them." — Jackie O’Sullivan, Director - NLPU
Numiko's user experience team took the audience information already available from NLPU and Camelot and conducted desk research to create personas for the target audience groups. What we wanted to do was understand who would be using the site and what their needs would be. The range of people was huge. From lottery players, to families wanting to attend an event nearby, to local organisations wanting to apply for a grant. From these personas, user journeys were created to inform the site information architecture, as well as the layout and priority of content for each page in the form of wireframes.
The main focus of the first phase was to create a new brand identity for Good Causes so as to encourage online users to engage with the site. It was, at that point, a very dry data set, posted online for the sake of accountability. Lottery Good Causes has improved so many lives we wanted to create a digital brand that was celebratory, joyful and above all, human.
Warm and Human Illustrations
We created a suite of illustrations and a custom, hand-drawn typeface to communicate a human warmth. Additionally, we created illustrations for awards categories which have become a series of logos in their own right. Ultimately, we took our designs and turned them into a brand toolkit and visual language guide which the organisation can use across all other forms of communication.
Shouting about stats
We realised through our insight work that there were two very compelling stories to tell. Firstly the magnitude of the overall money spent on good causes over the years. £32 Billion has been raised since the start of the National Lottery, and £33 million is spent each week. Not many people knew about these huge sums, and so this grabs their attention straight away.
The second component is the shear number of projects that are within each postcode. This means that we could immediately travel from Big National Numbers to Big Regional Projects people have no doubt visited, like the Angel of the North, and then keep on zooming in ...'and your village hall'.
The sheer variety and extent of Lottery funding is communicated throughout the site using headline figures such as 'We donate £33 million per each week to good causes' and 'We're changing lives in your local community'. This is to peak interest, encourage the website visitor to find out more, and ultimately to make the connection between playing the Lottery and investment from the Lottery Good Causes in their local area that they walk past or use every week.
As the typeface was hand-drawn originally the re-creation of headlines for custom banner treatments could have become an issue, however we then created the originally flat, scanned in version of the font into an actual font file.
Hours and hours of painstaking tweaks were made to the font to take it from something flat to something vector that could be converted into a useable file that could make the management of banners much easier.
The site was developed in Drupal and our heritage of handling large amounts of traffic on broadcast projects proved valuable once again. The annual National Lottery Awards on BBC One asks the public to vote for the projects that have had the most impact on them. Before this, lottery-funded projects can apply to the competition, set up their page and ask people to vote for their project to reach the televised shortlist.
Structure based on User Journeys
The site was structured so that a visitor naturally followed a conceptual journey, from the national scale, the regional significance, down to postcode-level density of projects. The Good Causes Directory marks the first big step in allowing people to see the impact that Good Causes funding has had on their local area. The functionality allows website visitors to search by region or local authority area, and see the total amount invested, and the number of projects, which is then filterable by the category.
We created a custom Google Map that clusters projects at a large scale, and as the view moves in, it 'unpacks' regional groupings to show projects at a suitable scale, in a user friendly way. It used custom pins and switchable layers to show projects by funding strand, such as 'Sport' or 'Heritage'.
Another key user group that visits the website is people who are looking for funding for their local group or project. Previously the process was very frustrating. The form asked for a great deal of detail, only for the user to be told that no programmes were available. The reason for this could be any single component of their application but they would never know whether it was the location, the amount they were requesting or what the grant was for.
"We begin by showing the total number of programmes available, then update that number with each piece of information they input it into the form. In the background we are constantly checking it against the eligibility database from the many grants currently open. This means that the user can see the affect each step is having on the amount of programmes available to them. This is a great example of how we use front end techniques to improve a user's experience." — James Hyatt, Head of Frontend Development, Numiko
Sophisticated Google Analytics was embedded into the form to determine if, and at what point, users are dropping out of the form completion, with Numiko and the NLPU team working together to continuously assess the statistics and improve the process over time.
The integration of the Good Causes directory and the Funding Finder has been a huge asset to the website. Within three weeks of deployment, the Funding Finder was already the most visited page on the website, beating even the homepage. Out of all visits to the page, over half went on to visit a programme funding page to get more information.
It's not often that you get to promote a £32 billion investment over 20 years. It was a joy to turn what was essentially an Excel spreadsheet into something that celebrates such a volume of truly life changing projects.