The Background

Post Natal Illness (PNI) or Post Natal Depression (PND) is a type of depression that can affect new mothers after giving birth. It usually develops 4-6 weeks after childbirth however this can vary depending on the individual, and in some cases takes up to a year to take effect.

PNI affects around one in ten mothers in the UK, although many say that it may affect as many as 1 in 8! It can be difficult to diagnose and so it is important for people to be aware of PNI and know the signs, in order for the illness to be recognised and treated quickly.

In 1998, Veritee Reed Hall founded the PNI ORG UK website. A registered UK charity, funded solely from donations and grants, and supported by volunteers. It was established to help people understand, connect and support each other through PNI.

The Challenge

Technophobia was recently approached by PNI ORG UK, seeking advice on how to improve their website.

Initially, we considered offering informal guidance on how to improve the site but as more and more of the Technophobia team became interested in PNI ORG UK and the scope of ideas broadened, it was recognised that a full redesign and build would be the best course of action.

With no budget for the project and limited resources, several members of the Technophobia team offered work on the project in their own time however such was the enthusiasm for the project that the decision was made that Technophobia would cover the cost of the project and go ahead with a full redesign.

We had a great opportunity approaching that would help fast-track this project. Every six months, Technophobia hold a Fedex Day whereby the entire company breaks into teams and works together to deliver a project, or solve a business problem, in one day.

A team quickly formed around the PNI redesign project including a senior UX designer, two developers, a tester, a project manager, two account executives and a marketing executive.

Our objective for the day was to assess the current site, understand its users, consider what content and journey would best meet their needs, identify the appropriate technology to use and get the site built; all within the tight deadline.

The current website was a little outdated and the navigation was not intuitive. Although users could donate through the site and purchase goods from the online shop, neither of these processes were easy to follow or simple to execute. We felt the design could also benefit from a refresh.

We understood the importance of how a social media presence could help PNI ORG UK and wanted to reinforce their Facebook group by creating a Facebook Fanpage and Twitter account. We were aware that the site would be maintained by volunteers with varying web skills, so the site needed an easy to use content management system too.

The RESPONSE

The technical team quickly identified that a WordPress platform would be the most suitable solution. It could be easily maintained and updated. The support staff at PNI ORG UK would only need a little training. It’s also an Open Source platform and has a mature, well supported community.

"thank you, not just for me but women who may need it now and may in the future."

Whilst addressing the design, we were very mindful, and understood the sensitivity of the subject therefore analysed how we could most effectively get people to the information they wanted - quickly. Our aim was to give the users confidence to engage and interact in an environment that would hopefully give them the answers they wanted, whilst also increasing the visibility of the Charity.

We created a Twitter account @PNIORGUK and Facebook Fan page to gradually migrate users over from the PNI Facebook group. Throughout the project we posted tweets showcasing the progress of the site and followed other organisations and charities, relevant to Post Natal Illness.

The Result

The new site is now live at http://www.pni.org.uk/ and the new design now reflects the fantastic work that PNI ORG UK does. Administrators now have the tools to easily update the site, meaning their time can be spent on more important issues.

I can’t tell you how much lighter this has made me feel that this is finally happening. I cannot thank you enough. As you know the responsibility to maintain our web presence in recent years, I found very heavy.

We are a online charity only and rely completely on our web site, forum, Facebook and Twitter (social networking) presence. Now we can all update the social networking things, the forum and the site and keep it going. You will not believe what a relief this is to me, I cannot repay what you and your work has done.  I am so relieved that you and Technophobia have done this for us. It means more than I can ever explain and sadly cannot repay.

I’m emotional, all I can say right now is thank you, not just for me but women who may need it now and may in the future.”
Veritee Reed Hall, PNI Founder

In May 2012 PNI.ORG.UK was selected by Health Unlocked to be an official community of NHS Choices.