Digitally transforming the Highlands and Islands

The first agency made website and online service to be audited by The Scottish Government's Office of the Chief Information Officer to meet the 22 Digital First Service Standards.

Part one

The brief

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is the economic development agency for the North and West of Scotland. Their purpose is to support regional development and increase the number of people who live, work, study and invest in the region.

The Scottish Government's updated Digital Strategy and subsequent Enterprise and Skills Agency review stated a clear mandate to HIE and its partners to adopt a more joined-up approach and to focus on a Digital First, Customer First approach to service delivery. This resulted in HIE finding a new agency to help refocus their digital services as part of a wider digital transformation programme. We're on a four-year journey with HIE, providing their specialist digital services.

01 HIE Devices

Part two

The work

Our challenge was to help HIE deliver that Digital First, Customer First mandate. Our services spanned consultancy, user research and ultimately a new website and personalised digital services to almost act as Virtual account managers and allow a higher degree of self service by their users and the general public.

The website would be audited throughout by the OCIO within the Scottish Government to meet the Digital first service standard, the first time an agency made website would be audited this way.

Research, Research, Research

The best projects start with solid market and user research. It's impossible to effect outputs if you don't have the right inputs and insights. We started by analysing existing research and data before facilitating stakeholder workshops, creating exit surveys on the existing website and running user research interviews working with our friends Taylor Mackenzie.

It’s all about the user

True service design must focus on customer needs. This means our research, content, user journeys, visual design and overall user experience had to be completely user centred or 'customer first', something that’s often said but not often followed in digital projects but it's core to designing successful user-centric products and services. Every step and output was audited with those core principles in mind by the OCIO within the Scottish Government.

02 1 HIE User Journeys

Personalisation and service design

A core deliverable was to improve how support services were discovered and engaged with by users, and to create a personalised experience to improve the relevancy of content and service delivery. An added benefit to this was enhancing the organisations understanding of its audiences and their needs at both a high and a granular level.

Working with the client team we devised and created MyHIE; an account based and personalised way to experience HIEs content and services.

Have a look at the new corporate website here

02 2 HIE Mobile
03 HIE Umbraco

A flexible, component based architecture

The new website and services are based on the Umbraco CMS. We're registered Umbraco partners and our in-house engineers are both Umbraco and Microsoft certified.

We don't believe clients should have to depend on us to build new layouts, templates  or promotional landing pages post go live — unless we really need to. We empower clients to take complete control over creating an almost infinite number of layouts and that’s why we design and deliver a component based solution and architecture — allowing clients to select from a library of components and to stack and order them however they wish.

This approach allows client budgets to go further and for a larger portion of budgets to focus on storytelling, marketing and advertising and any specialist bespoke technical work required.

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"Three Part Story led a robust and in-depth user research process that gave us key insights into our users' needs and motivations. As a result, we've been able to develop a user centred website that will help our clients quickly and easily find support services and resources that are relevant to them. The wireframing and design process has also led to a user friendly, flexible website which allows us to create new content, pages and site sections easily using their flexible framework within Umbraco and content block approach. As a partner, they are collaborative and supportive and care about creating a solution that's right for both us and our users."

Anna Allan, Head of Marketing, Highlands and Islands Enterprise

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