Sizewell C: New Website
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We were pleased to be invited to pitch for the job of designing the new public-facing website (and “shop window”) for one of the biggest projects taking place in the East of England; namely, the new Sizewell C nuclear power station – a joint venture between EDF Energy and the UK government.
As Sizewell C will be a key part of national infrastructure and highly sensitive in nature, our pitch and accompanying proposal focused upon the cybersecurity aspect and how we would ensure a delightful user experience while making the website as impregnable as possible.
Winning the Pitch
We were up against some stiff competition in the form of several London agencies as well as some established agencies closer to home. After several weeks of fairly in-depth questioning around all aspects of our proposal, we were delighted to be awarded the project.
The project greenlight decision for the construction of Sizewell C had been delayed a few times during the course of a fairly tumultuous 2022, so when the official go-ahead was finally granted, we would have to move fast to get the new website live within a 12-week timeframe.
The Design Brief
The initial brief was to redesign the existing Drupal website and rebuild it on a more intuitive, user-friendly platform as Drupal was no longer considered fit for purpose. In addition to peppering “moments of delight” throughout the design, we were also tasked with completely rebranding the visual design to complement the new brand identity that had been established for the Sizewell C project.
SEO Audit & Content Migration
Following an in-depth technical audit of the existing content and site structure, our plan was to migrate everything over to WordPress like-for-like, but we soon realised that the content would grow and evolve rapidly over the coming weeks and months as the project kicked into high gear. And indeed, over the next 12-15 years as the £20bn+ power station is being built.
Therefore, we designed the new site around the concept of flexible content blocks so pages could be easily updated with new sections and new pages could be easily added.
This helped to ensure that the approved designs we presented at the outset could be adapted as the website build progressed without impacting the overall design aesthetic. This also means the site can scale comfortably over the coming years with minimal intervention from our development team.
Evolving the Brand Identity
We inherited strict brand guidelines to follow for the overall visual design, but we were allowed creative freedom in how we translated the print guidelines for digital use. This included subtle UX animations and other embellishments to the brand identity that would be very much in keeping while adding a new dimension to Sizewell C’s online presence.
An Engaging User Experience
We wanted to provide a visually engaging user experience, but above all, we had to ensure information could be delivered to visitors in a clear, concise and compelling manner. This involved a complete reworking of the sitemap and information architecture, and while SEO wasn’t the most important consideration, we also made sure the new site would be fully compliant with Google best practice.
The design came together really well and the build progressed nicely so we actually ended up a few weeks ahead of what was already a very lean schedule. This worked out well as, due to the sensitive nature of this project, we needed plenty of time pre-launch to factor in all the governance, compliance, accessibility and security processes, not to mention thorough documentation and training, that would be required to achieve sign-off from a national security perspective.
As expected, the site content had already changed considerably from when we started the design phase in January 2023, but after some minor tweaks to the flexible content blocks (including the addition of a few new ones) and all security assessments and penetration testing successfully completed, we were ready to go! The new site went live in April and so far, user feedback has been excellent.