The Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence is a hub of world-leading expertise built around the analysis of emerging and future issues in measuring the economy.
Established in 2017 with the support of the UK Office for National Statistics, ESCoE is the UK’s first-ever dedicated academic centre of expertise for economic measurement and one of just a handful around the world.
Many of ESCoE’s researchers are based globally so their website is critical to forming identity and having something that is recognisably ‘us’.
So when it was time to update their website the centre needed someone to help form and display their brand identity in a clear and compelling way.
The previous site didn’t do a lot to encourage visitors to come back for a return visit. It wasn’t visually stimulating or memorable, so users were not encouraged to return.
ESCoE also wanted the website to enable them to tell the story of their various research projects. The old site wasn’t a suitable site window to what they are doing, nor did it reflect the cutting-edge nature of their research.
ESCoE had been searching for websites that reflected the cutting-edge nature of the work the organisation was involved in. Before long ESCoE’s Communications Manager, John Barlow, came across Contra’s multi-award winning site built for the Alan Turing Institute.
After investigating who designed and built Turing’s website, John got in touch with us and asked us to create a proposal of our recommendations and process. After reviewing our proposal we were invited to present our ideas to the ESCoE team before being appointed as the web partners for the project.
“Seeing Contra’s work with other institutions gave us peace of mind. It took away the doubt as to whether we could deliver something that was different and stood out from the other organisations in our field”.
The web development project posed an interesting challenge from the outset. We needed to incorporate the close partnership with the Office of National Statistics while also being distinctively ESCoE.
Considerations were made regarding the look and feel of the site – users shouldn’t be surprised to discover that ESCoE and ONS are in partnership, but we needed to communicate ESCoE’s unique brand, mission, and convey this when displaying the rich bank of original research and world-class economic publications.
They were trying to build their own identity and purpose and having a strong website was crucial to that journey.
As many have experienced this year, the pandemic disrupted some parts of the organisation – the seminar series which had been designed to bring people together had to shift online. Attendees had to interact online and via the website, creating a digital-first experience.
The website played a key part in that experience and was well received by internal and external stakeholders – with many members contacting the team directly to complement the new design.
One metric which stands out since the new site was launched is session duration. Users are now spending far more time on the site and looking at more pages, which suggests user engagement has been boosted. This is helped by the improved user experience. Now, users can journey through ESCoE’s research.
“Alana was great. We were in touch a lot and she dealt with everything quickly and professionally. Alana was nothing but cheerful and attentive, we were glad to have her.”