The Challenge

Creative Scotland is a public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across Scotland for everyone who lives and works in or visits the region.

Established in 2010 through a merger between The Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen, Creative Scotland enables people and organisations to work in and experience all aspects of Scotland’s creative economy.

The requirements for their new website were many and varied, because Creative Scotland exists to support the diverse needs of the public who, at one end of the spectrum, work in the arts and cultural sector in Scotland and, at the other end, attend and participate in arts and cultural activities.

We recognised that their digital presence required a complete rethink and overhaul, because nearly 50% of users of the old site found it lacklustre and difficult to find information. We needed to provide a rich information resource for artists and create an ambitious platform for advocating great artistic work being produced in Scotland to international audiences.

So the goal: keep it simple while offering sophisticated and visually rich routes to data.

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The Solution

Stakeholder engagement is critical to the success of any project: knowing your users and their needs then serving it up to them… Sounds simple, right? Well... unfortunately this stage of a project is often not done as thoroughly as perhaps it should, consequently missing out on developing key features that users would’ve liked. Creative Scotland, however, not only listened to their users, but they also understood their needs and aspirations for a new site. Staff and the people, projects, organisations Creative Scotland work with were very enthusiastic and engaged and helped to reimagine what a new digital presence could look like and how that would work.

Creative Scotland produced and tested extensive user journeys with their users. These prototypes helped to inform how Squiz could create rich experiences that would make better use of media. Throughout the new site, pages draw in related content that fills margins previously empty on the old site and there are a handful of ‘smart’ search tools.

Creative Scotland has tonnes of great content that previously fell under the radar. To offer more of the content straight off the bat, the homepage was designed with a three-tabbed carousel. This provided space for eight stories above the fold whilst each tab gives authors the freedom to theme their stories and keeps the homepage fresh. This feature was used particularly well around the Commonwealth Games. Metadata tagging enables editors to push featured stories to users whilst Funnelback provides detailed search results on specific content to be found quickly and easily.

Similarly, the 'Explore' section loads as a collage of great images, linking through to picture and video galleries, playlists and podcasts to great internal and external content.

Accessibility, being at the top of the list for users, was designed with mobile in mind and, as with all of Squiz’s work, responsive design comes as standard. Wherever and whenever the creative light bulb flashes above your head, you can find the information you need to get that idea off the ground – whatever device you’re on.

The Result

A bad workman always blames his tools. Well, we had no excuse! The Creative Scotland media library is…well…creative to say the very least. Images, videos and various other pieces of content were a breath of fresh air and, when coupled with our Squiz designers, resulted in a beautiful, functional site.

“Squiz designers helped us to create a look and feel that conveyed stature and credibility, whilst also being friendly, accessible and inspirational”.
Charonne Ruth, Web Manager, Creative Scotland

The team at Creative Scotland, though very talented, are few in number. The new website is designed to be flexible, empowering in-house changes to be made swiftly. The new site has left them with quite a toolbox to work with and simplicity remains at the heart of design.

“Squiz technology enabled us to provide a large volume of information in ways that are visually and structurally concise, with easy ways of segmenting data, to meet specific needs of a broad user group. With this we built smart site search and funding FAQs and resource databases”.
Charonne Ruth, Web Manager, Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland now has a site that’s representative of the brilliant work they do. We’ll wait to see how those user percentages change!

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