South West Water (SWW) contacted Proctors to update its website. The specific focus? Increasing traffic to www.southwestwater.co.uk by providing users with a more intuitive journey. SWW also wanted to reduce telephone contacts into its call centre and perform better in the ‘Utility Week’ usability survey – it ranked 9th last year.
The Proctors response
Instead of simply delivering a finished solution, we looked first at user needs, devising a user focused and intuitive site map and wireframe. Next, we created a working wireframe prototype to test the usability of the site before committing to build.
A diverse audience was set a number of tasks that they had to complete on the website. Their ‘journey’ around the website was recorded and filmed, so reactions could be analysed alongside mouse movements.
The results were fed back into the design of the new website structure.
southwestwater.co.uk now focuses on more than visual appeal – it is also functional and informative. Our research tells us that it is truly user-friendly, easy to navigate and offers effective signposting to find key information. Navigation and layout is clear, with simple, active language, separate information functions and prominent calls to action.
Furthermore, the site looks set to reduce inbound telephone calls to SWW. Users can easily undertake a number of key tasks, including asking for advice on payment, setting up, and changing payment details, making payments and leaving meter readings. Current call centre stats indicate 29% of calls related to these purposes, so we’re looking forward to hearing if this rate drops following promotion of this alternative, online route.
We have helped South West Water increase its site's usability by 31%, the third largest rise by any water, gas or electricity utility company in the UK.
This has increased its ranking in the Utility Week website usability report by 16 points, moving them from 9th to 6th position. In addition, customer visits have increased by 64% a month and the number of page views increased by 14% a month.