When we met Jared Hodgson, Co-Founder at Hope at Home, we could barely believe what he told us. The charity was founded to fill a huge gap in provision for housing and support for survivors of modern-day slavery and human trafficking. In fact, the mission of Hope at Home is “To see an end to the cycle of human trafficking in the UK, restoring dignity and helping to rebuild the lives of survivors”.
Not only in this day and age is human trafficking a thing, but something that might be happening on your doorstep. According to Hope at Home:
“It’s estimated that there are 136,000 people in slavery in the UK at any one time. Last year, statistics show that 7,000 potential victims of modern slavery were identified and rescued. After rescue, they are provided with government support including safe house accommodation, legal advice, counselling and healthcare. This support typically lasts for only 45 days (although often longer in reality). On leaving the safe house, many survivors cannot legally work or claim benefits, leaving them destitute, homeless and at high risk of being re-trafficked. Many struggle with the English language, have no friends or family here and are still processing their trauma. Some charities provide housing for survivors who can access benefits, but for many, there is no other provision except our hosting scheme.”
These are shocking statistics, and we knew we had to help. Ethical Pixels agreed to support the important work of Hope at Home in the arena we know best – Digital! As such, we sat down with the Hope at Home team and kicked off a few different activities aimed at improving their digital endeavours.
Although Hope at Home already had a web presence, Jared was concerned that there might be some areas that could be improved upon for different audiences, namely in achieving the key objectives any charity has to cover:
- Being found online
- Communicating their mission clearly
- Making it easy for volunteers/donors to give their time/money to the charity
We started off with a UX review of the existing site, identifying areas for improvement and a set of prioritised actions that could positively benefit the different users identified through our initial chats.
Ultimately, we produced a 59-page report for Hope at Home that identified some core actions, some of which we assisted with:
- Implement SSL to improve the security of the site and external perception – a lack of SSL can cause search engine penalties, reduce your discoverability and cause a negative perception of your organisation. We wrote a blog about this!
- Refine navigation – make it easier for people to navigate the site and find the information they’re looking for based on their immediate needs
- Introduce a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) framework, which dynamically generated search-engine friendly content and reports a sitemap XML file to search engine bots
- Improve the donation journey – donations are the lifeblood of charities, and people want to be able to easily and securely donate, and see the impact of their contributions.
Hope at Home also had a bit of a blind spot when it came to understanding who was visiting their website and what they were doing. We remedied this by installing Google’s Tag Manager on their site and then using it to dynamically deploy Universal Analytics and behavioural analytics tools that record user visits, behaviours and actions.
Having this intelligence is critical when it comes to learning more about your users and implementing designs that make their lives easier.
Finally, the team stressed the paramount importance of protecting the identities and interests of the survivors they assist.
With modern technology being what it is, it’s difficult for users to be sure that they are communicating and storing information securely. As such, we took steps to encrypt and secure the Hope at Home IT infrastructure with Full Disk Encryption (FDE).
There was also a need for secure messaging between staff, volunteers, authorities and survivors using the Hope at Home service. In addition to secure email solutions, we suggested the internal implementation of Signal Messenger, which is not only one of the most transparent, open to scrutiny providers of secure, end-to-end messaging, but also something that Ethical Pixels use ourselves. If you’re security conscious, you can message us securely!
The bottom line
Ultimately, it made a difference! We’re happy to say that Hope at Home found our assistance useful in their digital endeavours.
Learn more about our range of experience design services, including custom user experience consultancy and the flat rate UX review service that we provided to Hope at Home.
No fees were paid for the consultancy, advice and UX report we provided to Hope at Home. As part of our ongoing commitment to support local charities, nonprofits and community groups, we occasionally engage in pro bono work.