Blue Cross: Website design and development

Helping one of the UK’s leading animal charities to engage with a new generation of supporters


Last year, Blue Cross found new homes for over 8,000 of our nation’s unwanted pets. As one of Britain’s leading pet charities, millions of users visit each year to rehome or sponsor a pet, make a donation or to seek advice on caring for their pet.

With a vision that every pet deserves to enjoy a healthy life in a happy home, Blue Cross worked with us to develop a creative and digital strategy to raise their profile and appeal to more people who want to help more pets in crisis. Since then we have achieved several award nominations including (UXUK and DXA wins!), positive user rating of over 90% and a form submission increase of up to 128%!

Numiko was awarded the tender after a highly competitive pitch process in which Blue Cross said that we demonstrated a thorough understanding of the challenges facing the third sector, an outstanding level of strategic thought and a down-to-earth team that shared the charity’s values.

With ambitious plans for 2015 underpinned by digital and integrated comms, it was important that Numiko understood the business impact of this activity and where efficiencies could be made, so we spent a lot of time at the start of the project speaking to stakeholders and defining user stories.

“This site isn’t just about matching pets to people, it’s about educating users on the truly incredible work that Blue Cross does for pets and building advocacy among a supporter base for future generations. Ever since we visited a rehoming centre at the start of the project and saw first-hand the passion and energy with which Blue Cross people work to look after our nation’s pets we’ve been fired up to deliver a site that’s deserving of the Blue Cross name. These guys have been amazing to work with.” — Marie Kitney, Executive Producer

The new site is built in Drupal using the latest responsive design and development methodologies and features a content ‘slice’ approach which allows pages to be built up using flexible blocks. Numiko has also integrated with Blue Cross’ pet database and implemented Solr faceted search to help pet lovers find the right pet for them.

The design team at Numiko worked hard to create a consistent, flexible visual language for the site which draws on Blue Cross’ use of curves to bring warmth to the digital brand application:

“We wanted to let the content breathe so used quite drastic horizontal and vertical curves throughout the site to distance content blocks from any hard edges. We also introduced subtle rounded corners to image placeholders, form elements and calls to action. Illustrations are soft and joyful and key statistics animate on page load to further enhance the user experience” — Colin Grist, Senior Designer

We spent a lot of time defining the content hierarchy to ensure that no matter where a user is on the site, visual cues in the form of signposts and content teasers encourage onward journeys. Related content is editorially driven but also draws on the site taxonomy so this task is not too arduous for site editors.

It was a joy to see the digital team’s faces when we showed them their shiny new CMS as they all agreed that it has made their lives much easier and simpler. The user feedback speaks for itself:

  • 91% of users rated the website above average and 52% thought it was excellent!
  • 91% of users found the website easy to navigate.
  • 92% of users like the visual design.
  • 94% of users think the website is modern and up-to-date.

Since our initial redevelopment project together, we have evolved the site by continuing to add features and crucial calls-to-action which provide proven ROI. So watch this space or get in touch if you want to discuss how we get these results! 

“One of the most important decisions we made in our website build was appointing the right agency and in Numiko we got an amazing partner who really understood the needs of the charity and the end user. They went above and beyond to ensure our site is the best it could be.” — Kevin Reynolds, Digital Manager, Blue Cross

View the project