Life changes trust

Improving the lives of young people in care with inclusive design

Driving transformational and sustainable improvements to care experienced young people and those affected by dementia

The Life Changes Trust (LCT) is an independent charity, established in April 2013 with a £50 million endowment from the BIG Lottery Fund (BIG) Scotland. The Trust’s mission is to facilitate and support transformational improvements in the quality of life, well-being, empowerment and inclusion of two key groups in Scotland: care experienced young people and those affected by dementia, including unpaid carers.

In 2014 we undertook the task to design and develop a more sophisticated, flexible, and functional website for Life Changes Trust. The aim was to create a solution that could help them evolve and develop as an organisation, by contributing to their primary digital communications objectives: keeping beneficiaries and stakeholders informed, engaged and involved.

The new site was to be built on an open source platform and integrate with Salesforce, so that users could submit funding applications. Responsive web design and accessibility was also key. The design was to comply with AA accessibility standards and render perfectly across all mainstream browsers.

Designing the User Experience (UX)

A number of focus groups were held with both care experienced young people and people affected by dementia, including their carers. During these workshops we discussed user needs, content requirements, design visions and functionality requirements.

We learned that many care experienced young people have a lower than average reading ability and that those suffering with dementia are affected by visual impairments that affect their experience online. We also learned that both user groups needs were different and that clear and intuitive routes to content for both groups was key.

During our focus group sessions, we conducted a card sort analysis. This exercise explored how users grouped content, as well as the terminology they used. We used these results to develop a site structure that catered for two clear routes into content, addressing the user needs.

The project team, together with a selection of users were asked to review and feedback on the structure before modifications were made and the visual design commenced.

Improving Accessibility with CMS integration

We then provided a Content Delivery Plan (CDP) and set of wireframes which considered a “mobile first” design; ensuring that the new website was ready for any device. Our designs built on the user needs to provide a positive and consistent brand for the Trust, ensuring that the charity is recognised for the success in supporting life changes for their beneficiaries.

When developing content, we used a readability analyser to ensure that content and key messages were easily understood and we developed an accessibility toolbar which allows users with visual impairments to enlarge font size, as well as adjust the colour contrast.

We built the new website on Drupal - an open source Content Management System that allows for better functionality, high-end design and ease of use for the Trust’s beneficiary groups.

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