Mind: Forming a digital strategy partnership

Nexer helped the Mind project team to combine their latest user research, the goals from their digital strategy, the aspirations of a wide range of internal stakeholders, and current analytics, to create a road map and specifications for an agile design and build project.

Duration: 4 months for Discovery,

2 years and counting for ongoing service transformation

6 minute read

What we were asked to do

As one of the UK’s largest mental health charities, Mind wanted their online offerings to better meet the needs of those interested in seeking help with their mental health, supporting the charity, or finding out more about their work. In late 2017, Mind appointed Nexer to help them develop and deliver a new digital strategy, building upon their existing research, with a particular focus on increasing donations, improving engagement through a new website, and transforming the service offered by independent, local Mind offices.

The key objectives of this project were to:

  • Increase engagement with supporters and key stakeholders
  • Analyse and improve how the charity communicates with its online users
  • Develop a new donation flow that increases conversions and revenue raised through online donations
  • Migrate the website on to a new, Open Source CMS (Umbraco) to provide a better editor experience and a more robust platform upon which to deliver the digital strategy
  • Create a new website that delivers the best possible experience, for a diverse range of users, whose needs often change significantly over time
  • Understand some of the barriers to providing digitally enabled services at a local level and to design new solutions or services that would overcome them

It was also important that the project:

  • Fitted in with Mind’s wider digital strategy
  • Provided added value by helping Mind’s Digital, Information and Fundraising Teams to think differently about their content in order to provide better information to people
  • Improved the delivery of the information on the Mind site to make it as clear as possible for people who may be experiencing mental health issues


The feedback on the newly designed site from users has been amazing. We’ve seen a greater uptake and engagement with key information, campaigns and events, as evidenced by site analytics. Most tangibly, we’ve delivered an increase in average monthly donations of >70%.  

We’ve delivered integration points and processes with the SagePay payment gateway, Dotmailer platform, and MS Dynamics CRM system, which have greatly improved the cohesion of the overall digital architecture and made management of the ecosystem easier for Mind’s internal IT team.

Nexer managed a very smooth transition of the support service for the ‘old’ website from an outgoing partner to Nexer, with no downtime, and implemented a new Continuous Integration/Continuous Development environment and hosting infrastructure based on MS Azure. We provide a robust and highly responsive 24x7x365 support and optimisation service which has given the Mind team confidence and the ability to evolve and optimise the site through a flexible retainer service for this part of the contract.

We are proud of the information and advice our website offers and delighted to be working with Nexer to ensure we are able to reach even more people and achieve our supporter growth ambitions.

Photograph of Eve Critchley

Eve Critchley, Head of Digital at Mind


Phase 1

We wanted to gain an appreciation of the groundwork that had already been done, to conduct further research, to understand the project’s critical success factors, and to map out a technical and user experience approach to delivering the new site. We spent time learning about the organisation, including its business strategy and its stakeholders, so that our work would fit into the business goals and have meaningful impact.

Using insights from our user research, our co-design workshops and our stakeholder engagement workshops, we created an experience map or service blueprint that presents the outcomes we’re trying to achieve (against specific CSFs or Critical Success Factors), mapped on to interventions we intended to make (new website features or service elements we’re going to design and build), which address specific user needs (as identified in personas).

During phase 1, we produced a design pattern library and several prototypes, and we re-designed key site pages and features. We also created a detailed set of technical, functional and architectural specifications, in preparation for building the new site to be hosted on Umbraco and transitioned the ‘old’ (current) site into our support service.

Phase 2 

In phase 2 we took the outputs of the discovery and strategy phase into the delivery of a fully agile project to design and build Mind’s website. The experience map was instrumental in prioritising the work we delivered, informing the goals for each sprint.

We designed and built a new donation process (based on data analysis and redefined user journeys) that is simpler, clearer and more compelling than the current version – this has had a dramatic impact on conversions and an uplift in donation revenue. We also developed new fundraising and events features, including Just Giving integration, and revised information pages for supporters and people seeking help, including those in crisis.

We released new features and content as they were ready, rather than having a ‘big bang’ approach, so it was important that the new pages work seamlessly alongside existing features. For a more in-depth look at our approach, you can read our Senior UX Architect, Francis Rowland's thoughts on "How to design for people struggling with mental health".

We also recognised that the auditing, redesign and migration of Mind’s content from one CMS to another, and more importantly from one way of thinking to a new, more user-centred way of thinking, was a major undertaking. We worked closely with Mind teams at departmental level, and in the digital and information teams, to audit, evaluate and redesign content across the organisation so that it is more modular, easier to understand and act upon, and can be managed more easily in the CMS. We embedded two content specialists in the Mind team for 9 months, one to lead the content strategy and migration project, supporting Mind teams strategically and establishing a new governance approach for content across the charity, and another content designer to add capability and capacity to a stretched team.

Phase 3 

We’re continuing to work on the ongoing redesign and development of the website – our work and our approach has been instrumental in establishing a product mindset rather than a project mindset inside the organisation, where digital efforts are seen as part of an ongoing evolution of products and services rather than a finite project that is ‘done’ at some point.

We’re currently working on the transformation of children and young people’s service provision, with digital engagement at the heart of it, on a radical overhaul of the site-wide search function, and on a broad range of other features and requirements which are prioritised in our collaborative backlog and delivered in a flexible, agile way as a single, combined Nexer-Mind team.

Eve Critchley and Gareth John of Mind spoke at Nexer’s Camp Digital 2018, sharing some of the challenges they faced in developing and beginning to embed their digital strategy, and some of the initiatives they’re taking forward to offer a better experience for users and staff.

Watch and listen to the talk below:

>> Eve Critchley: Thank you.
So, we're here to talk a little bit about
our digital story so far about what we're trying to do
to change the way digital works for Mind and for mental health.
So, we're starting to talk
a little bit about the digital lay of the land for us,
so understanding where we came from, our roots
and, also, a little bit about the direction of travel for us,
what the future looks like.
Part of that is, of course, about actually making that case
for change and bringing people onboard with that,
and to bring people sort of along with us.
Part of that, what's very much central to that,
is the understanding of our users.
And, some of the things we've started to do
with user insight, recently, have actually changed the way
we think about our audiences
and change the way we work.
We're, Gareth and I, are from the digital team at Mind,
and Sigma are our partners for our website rebuild.
But, actually, it's not just the digital team
delivering this change.
It's an organizational change.
So, that sort of cultural side of things to people
are what's really driving it for us.
Like any good digital product or project,
we're learning and evolving,
and we'd like to just share
some of what's on our minds at the moment,
some of the things
that we're thinking about for the future.
So, of course, as I said,
we're going to talk about our digital story.
But, actually, this isn't the beginning
of our digital story.
We have a pretty well-established digital team.
We have a website that's used by millions of people
for mental health information,
and we have a well-established social media following.
But, actually, that's almost been
a little bit counter-productive,
our success in those things
because there's a perception that that's what digital is:
it's the website, and it's social media,
and it's getting stuff out there.
Actually, that's not thinking about our audiences first.
That's just thinking about the stuff we do currently.
And so, looking around the organization as well,
there are things we can start to identity
that aren't really going to
enable a digital change for Mind.
So, quite a bit appetite for change,
which is brilliant
but, also, quite low levels of skills and confidence.
People want to use digital in their work,
which is fantastic,
but don't actually quite know where to start
or don't feel confident applying digital thinking to their work.
And, thinking about all of that,
we had some ideas about things we could do differently.
But, actually, we wanted
to make sure that we really understood what problem
we were trying to solve before diving in to new projects.
So, we started with a big listening exercise, really.
That was with both our users
but, also, staff and local Minds.
We'll talk a little bit more
about how we went about that user research, later.
But, for now, I'll touch on the internal side of things.
We've got our box of tissues illustration there
because it wasn't always the easiest process.
We had to listen to some hard stuff, actually.
We started out with one-to-one interviews,
so quite open conversations with our senior management team
and key stakeholder teams
like service delivery staff or fundraisers.
I actually heard quite a lot of frustrations
but, also, gave people that space
to talk about the big ideas
that'd been on their mind,
the things that they got excited about
and wanted to start thinking about.
One pretty consistent thing that came up,
which was quite hard to hear being in a digital team,
was an association with the digital team
and saying, "No," essentially, to ideas.
Often, that was for pretty good reasons.
Something might not have been the most strategic idea,
or there might be feasibility problems,
or actually we're quite busy
and that might not be a priority at the moment.
But, obviously, saying no
doesn't mean people don't do something necessarily.
They might just start looking elsewhere.
We'd noticed that teams, when they had a great idea
and something they really wanted to do,
they might go and talk to an agency instead
because they'd hear that out and help them to develop it.
Actually, although ideas
weren't always necessarily the approach we'd want to take,
usually something behind that
was a sort of a gem of a user need
or an internal need that, actually,
we really needed to listen to that
and we weren't always hearing that.
By starting to have those conversations,
so having those interviews
and being open to hearing people's ideas and frustrations,
part of that was to understand
the problem we were trying to solve
but, also, it started to reposition us as a team.
So, you know, we're here to listen.
Actually, it's starting to seed the idea
that we can be a strategic partner.
We can be there at the earliest stages of your thinking.
We did listen to quite a lot of gripes and frustrations
but, also, that highlighted some real positives too.
So, one thing that people felt really passionate about at Mind,
and so it consistently came up, was people really valued
that we put user stories at the heart of what we do.
Particularly on our social media channels,
we're really living our values in that space.
We're being real.
We're being courageous.
And, people really valued that.
Highlighting those positive things,
how could we take those principles forward
in our other channels, in our other activities?
By this point, we had a good idea
of the lay of the land,
sort of what the issues were
and lots and lots of ideas about things we could do as well.
But, we didn't want a digital strategy
that would just happen over here,
while the organization
is driving towards this over here.
We needed a vision that would
really underpin our organizational strategy.
Rather than thinking,
what do we need to do with our website, social media?
Oh, we've got a bit of funding over here.
We need to stop taking that
sort of project-by-project approach to digital
and actually think, what's the biggest problem here
that we need to solve.
How will any of this help us
to drive forward our organizational goals?
Also, what's special about digital and mental health?
We think there's a lot
that's actually really special about that.
But, where can we really add value?
What can we do that's different?
What can we offer people that no one else can?
Thinking about what's that biggest problem for us,
this is just a quote
from an information user from our website.
I think it's just quite a nice illustration
of that experience you often have
when you're struggling with your mental health
which is sort of like,
what's going on for me?
Where do I start?
Where do I turn to?
It's a very confusing experience.
It's quite overwhelming.
You hear a lot of dead ends.
We talked about endings earlier,
and there are some very poor sort of endings
when you're trying to seek mental health support.
But, actually, this is something we can really help to unravel.
We can help to make that
a clearer path through for people.
That's something we have expertise and experience in.
But, actually, that's not reflected
in people's current experience of Mind sometimes
when they come into certain touchpoints.
You visit our website,
and you might be really happy with the content
and the information that you're receiving.
But, it's not really clear where you're to go to next.
In our online community,
you might really value that peer support and think,
well, how can I have this in a face-to-face context?
But, there's no obvious next step to go on from there.
People are having these broadly good experience.
We're a positive part of people's mental health journeys.
But then, people can reach a point of frustration,
and that's really the last thing you need
when you're struggling with your mental health
is not to see a way forward.
We think that's where digital can really help.
This is our digital vision.
Thinking about that problem that we've identified,
it's a vision that underpins our organizational strategy.
It puts the needs of the people
with mental health problems first.
They have to be front and center of our digital strategy.
And, the difference we need to see
is not so much necessarily about doing new things
or anything particularly innovative,
although that is part of what we want to develop.
But, things like consistency and integration,
so just people knowing where they are in a service,
so somewhere recognizable.
it feels like, you know,
it's the kind of values that the recognize from Mind.
It's integrated.
They can find ways through.
Helpful and accessible;
so if you're struggling with your mental health,
you need to get support when and how you need it.
That's something that you can call our helpline.
But, if you don't want to--
If you don't want to make a phone call,
what are the other ways you can
have a similar kind of interaction?
How can we sort of--
You know we're not necessarily thinking channel shift,
but just increasing that range of channels
to give people more choice and to make empowered choice.
And, you know, this is a user- centered, user-focused vision,
but you can just see
it will have business benefits for us as well,
so we're talking about consistency.
It's thinking about things like
brand recognition and consistency as well,
so people recognizing Mind at every different touchpoint.
Long-term engagement: so actually building relationships
with people over time,
but recognizing people might drop in and out
depending on their mental health experience,
but recognizing where people are in their experience.
That's doing right by our users
but, also, that's going to have benefits,
things like donations, fundraising,
getting involved in our campaigns.
We had set the overall vision,
but how does that actually break down for our work?
What's the change that we need to see?
I mentioned earlier, trying to get away from
thinking about website, social media, digital marketing
and, actually, think,
what are the big things that we're trying to achieve?
So, we set three goals,
and this is the first one,
which is around services and support.
And so, the key message here
is that digital is actually empowering choice.
It's increasing people's choice
and putting that very much in their hands.
That's where our head is
when we're thinking about our services and support offer
and how digital could better enable that.
It's a really massive moment for mental health at the moment.
We have the Royals talking about mental health.
Like, you know--
It's more high profile than it's been forever.
How can we make the most of that moment for mental health?
And again, it's that consistency is a key message here.
But, we know that there are some current frustrations.
When someone is motivated to give to us,
they often actually have
their own lived experience, maybe,
and they want to be able to
give back seamlessly in their own way
and, currently, there are some barriers and frustrations
that we really need to crack
offering those seamless conversions.
Thirdly, but not--
I have deliberately not numbered these
because they're not in order of importance or something,
but that might change.
Actually, at the moment,
although much of our strategy is quite externally focused,
we talk about our audiences,
but the internal side of things
is where our head is at quite a lot at the moment,
and that's because there is
this appetite for change around the organization
but not necessarily the kind of
skills and confidence
to put that into practice,
so we really need to build that across the organization
if that's going to be a sustainable change.
Tools, processes, governance, that side of things
are really important to this too.
The good news is
we don't have to start from scratch with this
because there's so much good practice out there already.
So, just as an example,
we've set some digital principles,
which have been adopted by the organization
that help us to assess
new ideas, projects, and that sort of thing.
But, they're simply adapted
from the government digital services design principles
because they're really credible.
We know they work.
We know they're flexible.
We know they're going to put the users first.
So, we didn't have to go too far to find some of this.
We set the vision.
We've got a rough idea of where we need to start to see change.
That's going to be an incremental process.
But, actually looking around
at the scale of what we needed to change,
we do need resources, and we do need investment,
and we do need to make that case internally.
I mentioned the listening exercise
that we undertook earlier.
That had a dual purpose, really.
It's about helping to understand the problem and what that was
but, also, it's about starting
to seed that thought in people's minds, a decision-maker's mind
that this something that was going to be important
and something that we might need to invest in.
Those one-to-one interviews, I'm actually hearing--
What are the frustrations you're hearing from your department?
What are the big ideas you want to get excited about?
Once you're starting to capture that in a strategy,
it's much easier to make that case for change.
Some of those people we spoke to at the early stages
have really been champions throughout.
That's because we didn't just sort of go away
after having those initial one-to-one chats.
But actually, coming back to those people
with early ideas,
just showing our thinking, and being like, you know,
this is what we started to put together.
How does that compare to what you were thinking?
And, being open to feedback as well.
Competitive research, we helped
to sort of bolster the case for change as well.
obviously, we looked around
to what other charities are doing.
But, you could easily get into that mindset of, you know,
what's Mind been up to?
Actually, we're all different organizations.
There might be some common themes,
but it's not a very user-centered way
to approach that question.
We did look around at other charities,
but if you think
when you're seeking mental health support
you might be going to Google first,
you might be talking to your GP.
Actually, our market is not
the charity sector, necessarily.
It's that wider services market.
It's apps; it's tech companies;
it's insurers - that kind of thing.
What's our place in that market?
But also, what do those products and services
tell us about the way people are seeking support?
What can we maybe adopt in our own services?
Where are the gaps that still remain?
Maybe that's where we need to focus our attention.
So, not just being--
Not taking that sector mindset.
Opportunity cost is maybe my favorite phrase
in the last year or so
because, when thinking about making the case for change,
I try to approach it as,
how is this going to pay off for us, exactly?
Actually, that's a really difficult thing to answer.
You can do some benchmarking.
You can probably say
what the likely impact is on fundraising.
But, when we're talking about outcomes
for people with mental health problems,
how are we ever going to pin that down?
Rather than talking about pounds and pennies,
actually, you're just asking questions like,
if we don't make this change now,
how are we ever going to get to where we need to be?
But also, if our attention is focused here,
so we're trying to keep the website going,
getting stuff out on social media,
there are all these needs that are happening here,
and we're not responding to them.
If we don't start to look at it in around,
then we're never going to get there.
What's the opportunity cost?
The other side of the coin to that,
so there's investment,
and there's the roles and responsibilities,
and that's a really tough one to crack.
This is probably one of the most challenging issues
that we had to kind of think about.
To talk about that in a little bit more detail,
I'm going to hand it over to Gareth.
>> Gareth John: Hello.
Can you hear me all right?
Yeah, as Eve said, one of the most
challenging and contentious issues for us as a team
was how we framed ourselves internally.
I think, over time, I guess we'd sort of eroded,
started to focus on particular areas,
so individuals had maybe worked predominantly on fundraising,
or somebody worked on our information section.
I think a lot of our stakeholders were concerned that
if we move away from that model, they'll lose their person,
which isn't good.
But, as a team, we'd really moved away from
focusing on user needs and
cross-organizational goals.
So, yeah, we needed to do quite a lot
to change internal attitudes.
As Eve mentioned, we did do
quite a lot of competitor research.
We looked at other organizations,
especially in the charity sector, how they were doing it.
But, ultimately, they change;
job titles change, and trends come and go.
We looked internally at our own strengths
and where we needed to grow as a team.
Yeah, we've decided to focus on our larger core team
with rules set by digital specialism.
But, before we could really get stuck into that as well,
we needed to ensure that we were giving everyone a good service,
and that we were robust
before we could really change our focus.
In simple ways, that was about adjusting our behavior
and demonstrating our value in different ways.
People really value our support as a team.
I should have probably mentioned that.
I head up digi-dev,
the digital development side of the team,
so people really value our team in terms of support
and as a kind of help desk.
But, obviously, for us to move away from that,
we needed to--
they'd be able to ensure
that that sort of stability was still there,
so kind of a clear SLA.
Simple stuff like that, really, clear communications,
which we really wanted to focus on,
and that allowed us to change our focus away from--
also towards demonstrating the voice of our users.
By visualizing the processes that do need to be there,
the support processes, making that really clear,
kind of experimenting with different ways of working.
Yeah, we could give people the confident that
that side of things is sorted
and that we can start focusing on the next slide.
Oh, no.
Actually, it's not quite.
No, it is the next slide.
I was getting carried away.
In order to be the voice of our users,
obviously, we had to listen to them.
As Eve mentioned earlier,
we carried out a big bit of website research
towards the end of 2016, which was--
It was really--
You know it was a deep dive.
We spoke to a lot of our users.
We plowed into our analytics.
We did a bit of user testing.
We learned a lot about our users,
and a lot of it really
challenged our assumptions, I think,
particularly around how our users find content
or how people find content on the website,
how they navigate, and that sort of stuff.
But, one of the really, really big key learning for us
was how fluid people were.
I think, certainly internally, you get these kind of silos,
and we had-- you know, sort of envisioned,
these are our supporters.
These are our campaigners.
These are our members,
and these are our whatever, so beneficiaries.
And, they crossed over, loads.
So, somebody who might be looking for information
on depression might, another stage,
really be wanting to give back.
And, somebody who is fundraising for us
might actually be vulnerable
or might be coming out of a stage of feeling vulnerable,
or further down the line.
This sort of idea that we got in our head of--
of these quite siloed people just wasn't really the case,
so it was quite a bit learning for us.
That kind of left us with a challenge of,
how do we support everyone with a mental health problem,
and where do we start?
Out the end of the research, we developed personas.
I'm not sure if that's legible, but hopefully it is.
Everyone has done loads of stuff with personas before,
and it could be quite difficult.
They don't necessarily stick.
And, I think it's not actually
always the easiest thing
to sell, I think, internally,
because they can be quite -- quite nebulous.
I think people--
You know it'll come up, and it's like,
"Oh, there's David.
He's a jogger."
Then you sort of forget it over time.
The one we designed, we really wanted to be
really, really needs based and really clear.
Then to be able to give us
a clear direction of action thereafter.
Yeah, you'll see it's much more need's based.
We kind of focused the end goals and the behavior,
or the kind of pain points
and the barriers for those people,
so that we could start to think quickly about, okay,
well, how can we get that person from one place to another?
And sort of extrapolating further from that,
this kind of allows us to
sort of frame our users as real people in a real context.
As I mentioned earlier,
someone's situation might change.
So, someone who is in crisis at one point might be--
I should probably watch my shirt there--
In crisis might be going--
Might, in another stage, be more under control.
Somebody who is hugely positive at Mind
is always at risk of being a critic of us as a charity.
Someone who is feeling maybe isolated, isolated there.
We can start to define, I guess, that problem to base there.
You can think, what sort of content can we create
that can give a person like that
more tools to manage their own mental health?
How can somebody else's personal story
help someone feel less alone and less isolated?
Just to really drill that point home.
You can see that idea of how personas is in silos.
It's just not the case.
This is crossover from one to another:
an active supporter,
somebody in crisis, somebody seeking help.
Yeah, so this can allow us to define progression routes
but, also, it can help us become aware of when somebody might be
potentially a bit in crisis or at risk of being in crisis.
Once we had this heap
of really, really interesting things to explore
and problem areas to traverse people across,
we started to experiment
with simple little bits and bobs.
The first example there, there's Elefriends,
which is our online community,
which Eve mentioned earlier,
which is a hugely popular, like--
Yeah, it's hugely popular.
It's hugely popular, but we knew
that a lot of people didn't know about it,
so people who use it love it.
But, a lot of people who might be on a page about
--I don't know--
the CBT, I think that page is, or depression,
they might not know that there's
a really, really good community for them.
If they're isolated, there's a fantastic thing for them.
We could start to do these small experiments.
On this one, we've got a user story,
which is huge.
We've got them all over the site,
just personal stories from people.
They're mentally powerful.
They're much higher dwell time than lots of pages on the site.
But, people love them, absolutely love them.
But, they're a bit of a dead end.
There's nowhere to really go from them.
That's kind of where it ends.
We talked about--
You can't actually quite see it from that slide,
but whether that's a good point to ask a donation ask,
or whatever there are actually different call to actions
that might be more valuable for that person at that stage.
Yeah, experimenting would be good,
but, yeah, our system was kind of terrible.
I guess, yeah, these things are really, really common, right?
We had all these great ideas.
We were like, there's no feasible way for us to do this
because we're running on
a sort of CMS made of rizlas and gaffer tape,
and it's just not going to--
>> Gareth: It's not going to work.
So, we had rebuild the website, which then in turn became,
like, a bigger thing than just a kind of quick upgrade.
But, it's really, really exciting.
Oh, yeah, hang on.
I'm going forward too quickly.
It was a really, really exciting thing,
but it sort of meant that, like, kind of--
We wanted to make sure that
we carried on all the stuff
that we got from our users,
all this kind of amazing feedback
that we got from people,
enthusiasm from people internally to then be like,
okay, we're going to bugger off now
and just do a website rebuild.
You know, we wanted to bring people into it, so.
So, yeah.
We decided to upgrade,
but we wanted to preserve that
kind of user-centric focus.
We wanted to make it a quick impact,
as quick as possible,
to kind of keep that
experimenting iterative sort of process going.
And, we wanted the rebuilt to be as much about UX
as it was about a robust technical build,
which is still very important.
And, we wanted to keep evolving those personas.
So, Eve mentioned earlier that a lot of people
were really, really enthusiastic getting involved in this,
you know, once we sort of got them involved, you know,
and then sort of persuaded people.
They were really, really enthusiastic.
We have some amazing experts,
our information team
who will edit hundreds of pages
on all different types of things
across mental health
from some treatments to drugs to whatever self-help.
We wanted, similarly, fundraising people
who speak to our fundraisers
all the time or our campaigners.
There are so many people we wanted to keep involved.
So, we wanted to make sure that the next stage,
which I'll pass over to Francis for, was a collaborative one.
They'd been involved in the research,
and we wanted them to stay involved in the build.
I think that's pretty much it for me.
>> Francis Rowland: So, Sigma joined this story
kind of the end of the summer last year.
And, we started to work with Mind.
And, we were invited to help to design and implement
changes to Mind's key digital channel, it's websites,
the place where it could have
a lot of impact and reach a lot of people
And, we had to build on this kind of work.
So, the important thing here is that our role as a supplier
coming into work on this
wasn't only to do that design and implementation,
but to also understand why we were there,
what had gone before, what were we building on,
all of this kind of enthusiasm,
the knowledge that had been built up.
We had to kind of join that and make the most of it
as much as we could.
So, we had to learn as much as we could
about the organization,
about the people we worked with directly
so that our work could fit in and have impact.
So, it was a little bit like
learning about our own context of use.
Why were we there, and how were we going to fit in?
So, I will focus on this point
about collaboration and working together.
I'll mention a couple of
approaches and things we've used,
but I'm not trying to teach you about, you know,
cool, new UX design approaches.
There are things here that I'm sure many of you
will recognize already.
So, Mind, like any charity, relies on our donations to
support itself,
to allow it to do what it does
to have the kind of top quality
information and provide support
to people who need it when they need it.
Mind has business goals.
It has targets.
It has revenue it needs to try and reach.
And, we needed to understand about this so that,
as we began to make changes
and try and have some kind of positive impact,
that it would align with what was there.
And, this was also, of course,
what wider stakeholders within Mind cared about.
This is what Eve and Gareth had sold to people,
really, internally, so that they could be part of doing this.
Something that we worked on as part of a discovery phase,
part of the project towards the end of last year,
was to develop this big diagram.
It's evolved since then.
At the time, we called this the network map.
We used an approach called impact mapping
to help join together things about Mind's goals.
So, on the left-hand side--
I mean, you can't read these.
Don't worry too much.
But, why does this work matter to Mind?
What are they trying to achieve?
We could draw this directly from Mind's digital strategy work
that had already been done.
And then, we wanted to know how it would impact the people
who would stand to benefit from this,
so the users of the websites.
What changes in behavior might we see
or would we want to see, in fact?
And so, you can see
or maybe make out these little sort of heads.
These are the personas.
These are the kind of actors who would be impacted
that Gareth has mentioned.
So, this is work.
These are artifacts, really,
that already existed that we could draw into this.
Then, finally, we could begin
to look at what we'd actually do,
what would we implement or make or do or change to effect
or bring about that impact that would lead to these goals?
This became, and it still is,
a very useful tool to help us
prioritize and keep focused on things,
and look at how things are joined up.
Rather than getting carried away
and making some cool thing with some new technology,
we need to see where it fits into something like this.
I mentioned that it it's evolved.
It's now a lot less kind of cool looking.
It's now in an Excel spreadsheet.
But, that's much more practical.
It's something we can work with.
It's a shared document,
and we can align work to priorities, essentially.
This was something that I remember
sitting and sketching this out
with an overhead camera and saying,
"This is how I think we could visualize how things
"are connected together,"
and so it's something
we developed collaboratively
and then continue to use collaboratively.
Since we were dealing with a website,
it wouldn't surprise you to know
that we worked on information architecture as well.
And so, we needed to draw people together
to help them think about
content needs in a different way.
And so, Gareth has already mentioned
the many different groups within Mind
to have particular expertise,
so the people who know about fundraising,
the people who write the information
about mental health conditions,
the campaign team, et cetera.
And so, we brought them together
to conduct another collaborative workshop
to look at core content.
What content do you need and when
to support the priorities that we'd identified
in the previous thing, in that impact map?
And so, we facilitated this, the 3 of us there,
and about 16 staff, different stakeholders,
wider stakeholders from outside the immediate team
who worked on this.
And, they were the subject matter experts.
They knew what content they had
and what they could use and when and why.
So, we just kind of guided that and stood back
and let them do this.
And again, this is something that we still use now.
Importantly then, I think,
and I'm sure this is the same
for many of you when you work,
we don't work in a bubble.
So, in this project, we weren't given something to do,
we go away, wave our user experience
design and developer wants
and come back and say, "Here you are.
It's finished."
We had to work with people.
But, knowing who to involve and when
is still difficult
and it's something you have to kind of learn
as you get into the project.
But, neither did we start from scratch.
So, we had these other artifacts
that we've mentioned some of,
things like Mind's digital strategy,
things like pieces of research
and the knowledge that had been developed.
And so, we wanted to build on that
and then not just kind of acknowledge it and go,
"Well, that was great.
We've read about that,"
and then move onto something else,
but integrate it into other pieces of work.
So, it was still relevant to things like the personas.
But, we had to earn trust,
so we're just some supplier
who comes in and people don't know us.
We didn't know each other beforehand,
so we have to kind of develop
that trust and that relationship
together so that we can work
as productively as possible.
And, much of that is really listening to people
and showing them that you've listened to them,
involving them in things and reflecting back
what you've heard.
And then, some of these artifacts,
things like an impact map,
things like core content models,
act as kind of boundary objects.
So, there are people inside the core project
who are working on it all the time,
and then there are wider stakeholders
who really want to make sure that they are heard
and that their part of this is dealt with.
And, these boundary objects
then allow them to connect with this,
allow them to see what's going on in the project
and for it to make sense to them
and see that they are being involved.
>> Eve: As I mentioned earlier,
part of the culture change that we're trying to embed at Mind
is about us actually embedding that idea
that things are never done.
We're learning and evolving.
Just in putting together these slides,
Francis, Gareth, and I, started to pull out some things
in working together over the last few months.
But, over the last sort of year or two with our digital story.
Just some final thoughts about those,
so personas, as Gareth mentioned,
we've all used them.
Everyone around Mind is familiar with them,
but they often do gather dust.
We did think hard about whether they were right for us or not.
But, actually, keeping them alive,
so continuing to return to them,
but also seeing, as in that impact map,
how they're behaviors that might be changing
as a result of a more positive experience,
how those are actually
contributing to organizational goals.
That feels much more dynamic and alive.
What's more motivating than
seeing how something you could do,
like a piece of content or something,
could take someone from feeling quite agitated
to feeling much calmer.
That's a really motivating thing to have.
Talking about our work,
obviously, we talked about our work here, which is great.
But, it's not something that always
comes easily to us as a digital team.
We're trying to embed more agile ways of working
and the idea that things aren't done,
and sometimes there's going to be room for improvement.
But, actually, as a team,
we always want things to be good,
and to be done, and to have the conversations
when we feel ready to have that conversation.
And, actually, that's quite counterproductive.
Partly through the website rebuild,
but in this digital strategy development,
what we were trying to do
was actually to show that early thinking,
to show when things aren't quite right.
Because, when you have that conversation,
it's a shared problem.
People understand that what we're grappling with
is often quite complex.
There aren't necessarily easy solutions to it.
But also, people can start to get excited
about what the possibilities are,
and then we've got some more allies around the organization.
But, one definitely for us to keep working on.
Similarly, communications for us as a team
but, also, as a matrix team,
so working with other organizations like Sigma.
Keeping communications going,
so standups using tools like Slack
just to keep those conversations alive.
It's partly about productivity,
so we're now waiting for a week
on that document someone was
supposed to have sent over and then forgot to.
But, it's also about feeling like a proper team,
so we're all out and about in the digital team
working on different things,
and it can be hard to feel like a team sometimes.
But, sharing a little bit about what we're working on
or just some positive feedback and things like that,
as well as using it as a sort of project communications tool.
That's really helped
just being visible to each other,
as well as to the wider organization.
Finally, building buy-in by increments.
I think that's a bit of a theme for this whole talk, really.
And, I suppose it's probably a nicer way of phrasing that
is it's about storytelling.
So, you know, we talked about those early conversations,
so sharing what the lay of the land was,
setting the vision,
kind of moving into goals, and delivery.
Involving people at each stage means that,
by the time that we get into something
like a rebuild project,
people are going to disagree
with the way we are doing things
and have other suggestions.
You're able to see that golden thread running through
from that vision through the goals and into delivery
and evolving our users,
which is much harder to argue with, obviously.
So, that helps to keep things moving forward.
But also, for us as a team,
I think, to be able to follow that thread through
and to see the difference
that we're working towards
really makes a difference.
Thank you very much.
We've really enjoyed today,
and having the opportunity
to share some of our digital story
and to hear other's has been really exciting.
We'd love to hear your questions and, in the break,
maybe have a chat about what's going on for
you as well.
>> Shaun Gomm: Thank you, Eve.
Lots of really solid, practical advice in there, I think,
so that was great.
Questions for Eve, Gareth, and Francis?
The lights are a little bit blinding.
>> Gareth: A guy down there.
>> Shaun: Sorry.
I couldn't see through the lights for a second.
>> Audience member: I'd like to know how you've dealt with
sort of more senior managers
coming up with what they think
is a brilliant idea that will
definitely solve problems for everyone
without any real evidence as to why, why they think that.
Have you dealt with people like that?
>> Eve: Yeah, so that happens at all levels, obviously,
so it's like a pet project.
Someone has had it in mind for years and,
finally, they have an opportunity to talk about it.
Part of it, I think, is just being open to that
because there probably is a good reason why
they at least have that thought.
But, I think it is taking that stage process.
At the very beginning,
when we were talking about our research
and setting that vision,
we weren't making any commitments
about stuff we were going to do.
And so, starting with that,
what other kind of--
What's the overall goal that we're working towards?
And then, getting commitment around that means that
by the time we're at, kind of, actually,
what are the activities needed to deliver this?
If something doesn't ultimately feed towards that goal,
you've had that buy-in at very early stage
to kind of push back on that a little bit and to say,
"Well, you know, that maybe doesn't fit
"in terms of our priorities and things like that."
Part of it is that senior level cover as well because, you know,
you can't just have--
Go back to that, the digital teams say no.
But, actually, the ideal is that
other people around the organization
are able to be your advocates
and to have --
be doing some of that pushback for you as well.
>> Gareth: Plus, I think, if I can add, Eve,
regular, really regular opportunities
for those senior leadership teams
and all those stakeholders
to actually have input
and see progress, be assured, and that sort of thing.
>> Eve: Mm-hmm.
>> Gareth: I think you have to continually remember
that it's not just a small,
core digital team or stakeholders.
It's a very broad range of stakeholders,
often at quite senior levels,
who also need to be continually kept in the loop
and feel able to contribute.
Is that fair?
>> Eve: Yeah.
>> Shaun: Sorry.
There was another question just here as well.
Perhaps there wasn't.
[Chatter from the audience]
>> Shaun: Let's do one upstairs first.
>> Audience member: Hi.
My question was around,
you touched on trying to touch
and move people through to being supporters.
But, obviously, there's still a lot of stigma
around people openly talking about mental health.
I wondered, in your discovery phase,
if there was any insight around
how people feel comfortable
to start to advocate and share their stories
based on the services that they've interacted with.
>> Eve: Hmm.
>> Gareth: I don't know.
It's a good question.
>> Eve: I'd say around stigma
and whether people might want to share their story,
but whether they're actually really able to.
I mean, I think that's in our -- in the personas.
I mean one of the things that's helpful is to reflect
that there is going to be a variation,
so that's probably another one of those problem spaces
where someone's immediate situation means
that it's actually not possible
for them to talk about their mental health.
we wouldn't encourage someone
to do something they're not comfortable doing.
For other people, let's provide you
maybe a low level way to start doing that.
Some people have said even things like
just liking us on Facebook
have been a way to kind of signal to people around them,
or sharing some of our content.
Then maybe something is going on for me.
I'm not yet talking about it,
but it's kind of warming up their circle
to understanding more about their mental health,
even though they're not quite there yet.
>> Francis: That's kind of about leveraging social proof then,
so that people see, okay,
other people like me can talk about this
or can, as you say,
indicate their support for something, for example.
Certainly, in terms of what we design,
we're trying to gently bring that forward, really,
so that it becomes more obvious
and it becomes more normal, really.
It's, you know, not unusual.
>> Audience member: Yeah.
I sometimes pick up on tiny details and run away with them,
but I'm really interested in this concept.
You were talking about doing competitor research.
>> Eve: Mm-hmm.
>> Audience member: And, I was curious.
Like, firstly, what is it that you're competing for?
And, secondly, I think, for me,
a lot of digital culture needs to start going
is less looking at each individual thing
and looking at the landscape of things.
Actually, how we're kind of underlying the root problems
of mental health problems,
where they come from, and why they persist.
I was just intrigued by this concept
of a competitor in your space because, like -- [Laughter]
>> Eve: Yeah.
I mean I think one specific example,
I think, stood out from competitive research was,
we're starting to think about
things we could do differently,
but people are feeling a little bit nervous about that.
Being more upfront about options
to support Mind, for example.
We don't want to intrude on
someone's support seeking journey,
but also, as Gareth was talking about,
those low-fi experiments where
maybe some of the things was actually just...
People were like,
"Yeah, I get that.
"You're a charity,
"and so I'd actually quite like to give," and stuff.
That's kind of part of what might have helped
to kind of think, "Yeah, that's something we should try,"
but it also kind of--
Sometimes looking at the wider landscape and being like,
"What's the sort of norm
"around things like design elements as well."
>> Gareth: Yeah, and I guess it's maybe one of those phrases
that's just not particularly sort of, yeah,
it doesn't quite fit because you're right.
It's not like we're sitting there...
>> Audience member: Yeah, I might suggest alley,
personally, but, you know.
>> Gareth: No, exactly.
I mean that's it.
Yeah, I think there are design elements
that you can see what other people are up to.
If we haven't necessarily looked
at the design side of our site for a few years,
maybe it's kind of that look.
But, also, there is an element of which, you know,
people do go to Wikipedia for content,
or they do go for information.
They will Google it.
Yeah, there are sort of competitors.
>> Eve: Yeah.
>> Gareth: But, yeah, maybe not people
we would like to fight with.
>> Eve: Yeah.
I like allys,
but I think there are also
people are telling us that they're using stuff,
which isn't great,
because they don't have other options.
And so, you know, by actually being,
like, you know,
we don't necessarily need to reinvent the wheel,
but we believe that we have
really good mental health content, for example.
So, people might be using an app,
but the actual content isn't very legit.
It is not very helpful in things.
So, that might be something where we're like,
actually, we want to be much more present for people
and we would maybe see that as competing,
and that's something I would feel too nervous about.
>> Gareth: Yeah.
No, I think so.
Yeah, exactly.
We've got information standard approved content,
and people will look to us.
They want to know that we know what we're talking about.
I think, yeah.
Yeah, you kind of want to push that, you know.
>> Shaun: I don't think we've got any time
for any further questions,
but please show your appreciation
for Gareth, Eve, and Francis.
Thank you.
Picture of Francis Rowland

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Please email francis.rowland@nexergroup.com if you would like to know more about our projects, or call our Cambridge office on +44 (0)1223 626629