The Challenge

Digital UK is a not-for-profit company that was set up at the request of the UK government to provide impartial information on the switchover from analogue to digital television. It led the implementation of the digital TV switchover from 2008-2012 and is overseeing clearance of analogue television services to prepare for the launch of 4G mobile broadband services. The company is owned and funded by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva.

Preparing for the switchover from analogue to digital signal was a mammoth task and represented the biggest challenge in UK broadcasting history since the introduction of colour television in 1966. Digital UK needed to set up a Digital UK website and various microsites that would help inform the general public about how the changes would personally affect them as well as how they could prepare.

The aim of the Digital UK project was to equip consumers with the information and tools they needed to switch to digital in a seamless, cost effective way. Given that a project of this scale had not been tackled by the broadcasting authorities in decades, new challenges presented themselves on a daily basis. Because this change affected the entire UK population, it was imperative that the website was developed in line with accessibility best-practice guidelines to ensure everyone could easily access and understand this information.

As the time to switchover neared the focus switched to practical help to ensure consumers knew how to ensure they did not lose their television signal. Additionally, given the wide range of people affected by the switchover, it was imperative that the website was laid out in an easy to understand, accessible format.

With these challenges in mind, Digital UK sought a CMS that was flexible enough to support complex technical information while also making content editing and publishing simple and intuitive.

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The Solution

Squiz was engaged to take Digital UK through the entire process - from planning and UX strategy all the way to implementation and training. We completed this for not only the main Digital UK site, but these four targeted microsites:

  1. Local government: this microsite caters for local councils and relevant authorities, helping them guide their residents through the switchover with ease.
  2. Property managers and housing authorities: this site was tailored to enable its users to communicate with landlords, resident associations and tenants.
  3. Retailers: this site is geared towards the entire spectrum of electronics retailers, giving information that would help them explain the switchover both in-store and online.
  4. Transmitter network: this was designed to inform the technically-minded engineers and areial installers of the changes they would need to make to their businesses as well as information to pass on to their customers.

Bringing things up to speed with Matrix

Digital UK also had had various digital properties that were out of date in terms of both content and design. Bringing these up to speed would usually be a complex, manual process. Thanks to the modular capabilities of Squiz Matrix, these disparate sites were seamlessly and rapidly updated to ensure brand consistency across the entire Digital UK web presence.

Efficiency through customisation

Digital UK's objectives were unique in that they required the functionality to upload all planned engineering works schedules directly into their CMS. We worked closely with their team to develop a customised solution that not only allowed for direct input but automatically converted this raw data into user-friendly pages for public access.

Aligning the virtual experience with the real world

It's hard to match the personalised experience of a call centre, but we created what we think is the closest thing by using Funnelback search. By integrating this enterprise search tool with Digital UK's contact centre database, their entire library of FAQs, help content, maps, leaflets and other publications were made easily accessible through the website. Users could now easily find answers to all of their questions without having to pick up the phone.

The Result

Implementing Squiz Matrix across the main consumer site and four microsites gave Digital UK an unprecedented level of flexibility and control. It allowed their team to spend more time working towards their objectives because they no longer relied on an external agency to get things done.

With the middleman removed, the entire team became more agile, responsive and productive.

The UK's digital switchover is now complete, however Squiz continues to work with Digital UK to refresh and evolve improvements to the main consumer website in line with user feedback and current trends.

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