Make CIC operate a suite of makerspaces across the Liverpool City Region. Their spaces enable people from all walks of life to share skills, make, fix and create. They encourage collaboration and engagement between their creative community and design spaces where residents and members can share ideas and work collaboratively on commissions. New technology-led thinking crosses over with traditional-craft practices to create something wholly unique. Make is made by people, for people.
As a community-driven social enterprise, Make needed to create a new website that better supported their vision. Their former website was difficult to manage and maintain, with issues around accessibility and navigation. The goal was to produce a new, responsive website that was easily manageable and tailored to their target audiences.
Matchstick Creative gave us clear and consistent communication throughout the project, creating an innovative website that better supports our needs and goals. It’s been great working with a company that shares our values and vision.
Liam Kelly, Make CEO
In order to inform the design process and better understand the obstacles that Make needed to overcome, our experience team facilitated user testing and research. By hosting a series of interactive workshops and sessions, we were able to identify the needs and goals of Make’s diverse community of users. This allowed us to align the priorities of the organisation with the requirements of the user, creating actionable next steps for the design process. Through usability testing, our website development team were then able to begin creating a new website that prioritised audience and accessibility.
We used an open, collaborative approach to the website development stage of the project. This meant hosting regular check-ins with the team at Make to maintain a shared vision and consistent communication throughout. Implementing co-design in the project allowed both teams to use shared knowledge and experience to create a more innovative and organised process. Both teams were able to better articulate ideas and concepts, creating a strong cross-team bond.
We worked collectively to identify practical design plans that support the overall goals for the new website, maintaining a shared vision that prioritised the user and their needs. Combining the development and design team at this stage in the process led to an improved creativity and a better understanding of our services and how they meet the needs of Make.
Make found their former website to be impractical and time consuming to manage. It didn’t target their specific audiences and wasn’t aligned with their brand vision. Applying our insights-driven user experience and Make’s brand identity, we were able to begin building the new website. Our template used Sage and Bedrock, which allowed us to move through the process in an efficient and developed way. These frameworks also permitted us to build better themes and carefully manage other elements of the website, including files and plug-ins. Not only did this tackle practicality issues, but also informed the content part of the build, creating more defined and purposeful components that were in line with the goals of Make and their community.
On their previous website, Make found that they had to manually insert new content on each of the pages. We used a number of different techniques to make this easier on the new website, including using advanced custom pro alongside a modern WordPress block API. This added extra content fields, helping us to work more quickly when building the website and also carefully tailor content editing processes.
Modular build was implemented to divide the website into smaller, visual blocks. This step prevented our design team from creating any repetition in coding. Each block was now of a more manageable size, allowing us to reduce any redundant content that was out of date or unaligned with the needs of the new website.
Adding the Gutenberg Editor in WordPress meant that Make could now visually add content and take control of managing their site. The use of content blocks led to better accessibility for the team at Make when editing and uploading content.
To effectively tell Make’s brand story of driving change across their communities, photography was going to play a key role in the website’s build and design. The old website prevented users from being able to click and enlarge or see any information about the images. When developing the new website, we used the bootstrap framework to enable a more responsive design. The framework enabled us to add features such as image carousels and accordions, meaning images now provided more of a purpose, with the addition of accompanying text for context when images are enlarged.
Make CIC offer a range of events and workshops across their multiple venues, but found it difficult to manage event listings on their previous website. By installing The Events Calendar software component to wordpress, we were able to establish clearer events listings and booking links that could be easily customised by the team at Make.
Alongside ensuring clarity around the new website and its functions, we also wanted to ensure that the website and its content are easy to locate. In order to improve their online visibility, we installed SEO Framework, a plugin that helps to produce effective page descriptions and keywords.
Make wanted their new website to be easily manageable for their team, so that they could update and amend content whenever necessary. In the design phase, we created a fully custom theme using a HTML boilerplate. To ensure a future-proof, flexible website we created custom post types that enabled Make to update and manage residents, course teachers, case studies and locations.