The Challenge

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is the independent regulator of Britain’s rail and highway networks, responsible for ensuring safety, and that operators are delivering value to tax payers and their customers.

The ORR was in the unenviable position of being tethered to technology that was no longer fit-for-purpose.

Their old CMS was no longer supported after becoming increasingly customised through various builds that had been bolted onto their original system to patch holes and fix issues.

This resulted in the small in-house team dedicating much of their time to fixing, rather than improving their digital offering.

To emphasise the issues the team faced, a survey from users in 2012 revealed the following issues:

  • 68% did not get everything they wanted from their visit
  • 53% were satisfied or very satisfied with ease of use
  • 51% were satisfied or very satisfied with the design of the website
  • 39% were satisfied or very satisfied with the ease of finding what they were looking for.

The ORR is committed to providing accurate and transparent content on all the work they do, so needless to say, the technology they were stuck using didn’t allow them to do this, creating an environment that made it difficult for the team to deliver a good user experience.

After a great deal of research, Squiz were chosen as the partner for the ORR, who didn’t want to rely on proprietary based software.

Working with Squiz would also give the ORR flexibility to use their in-house expertise on various aspects of the website, combining with Squiz on areas where there may be knowledge gaps.

The goal was to redevelop the ORR website, making it easier for the web team to implement changes, whilst providing all of their content digitally in the first instance.

The Solution

Prior to looking for a new partner, the ORR had undertaken a lot of work to see where their site, users and staff were left wanting and this research formed the basis for the digital journey they wanted to design - making buy-in from their stakeholders all the more easier to gain.

Squiz and the ORR met regularly for workshops at the beginning of the journey, with the project quickly speeding along because the ORR already had a wealth of figures and research to bring to the table. Even at these early stages it was possible to discuss as granularly as metadata elements, making creating functional specifications that best fit their users’ needs an easy task.

This proactive approach to their work also meant the ORR knew what they wanted from each phase of the project’s lifecycle and ensured that there were no surprises along the way. Similarly, the work helped Squiz streamline our proposed improvements and enabled the project to be delivered in a 4-month turnaround.

Migrating from their old CMS to Squiz Matrix gave the web team the flexibility to maintain and update their site far easier than before. Setting workflow processes and devolving governance to various departments freed the small web team from tasks such as uploading contracts and various other pieces of content.

An HTML prototype of the new site was given to select groups of users to test key journeys, the resulting feedback showed an increased ease of use from both external and internal stakeholders.

The Result

Moving to Squiz Matrix was a pain-free process due in large part to the work that the ORR had put in prior to tendering, meaning that the project team could follow a simple waterfall approach to launch day.

Post-launch, the partnership moved the project to an agile approach, maintaining the flexibility to improve it when required.

The move to Squiz Matrix changed the organisation significantly: during the migration, the ORR archived 30% of their content, making it easier for users to find the content that they were looking for.

“I was really impressed with how the project went. It was delivered on time, to spec and to budget. The project team were really knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.”

Sonya Leaman, Web Comms Manager

The ORR is currently taking time to assess how they can become digital-by-default and put the user at the centre of their approach. We at Squiz look forward to continuing to help them on this journey, helping them to further personalise their user experiences.

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