Fertility Network UK

A site built on understanding

by Richard Broughton – 4th January 2017

Launched in October 2016, the new Fertility Network website has been developed to be the charity’s central communication platform, offering essential resources to meet the specific needs of its varied audience, as well as driving donations to help support the charity’s activities.

From the project’s outset, understanding the requirements of each of the specific user groups, as well as positioning and promoting the newly updated Fertility Network (FN) brand, were two of the key deliverables. Equally important was our approach to engaging with FN’s audience, what we said and how we delivered content to ensure it was seen by the most relevant users.


The project began by conducting a comprehensive review of the then current website, auditing the content and resources, and using the site’s analytic data to identify and understand how the site was being used and by whom. This process gave us a clear understanding of what was working well and what wasn’t.

With an accurate understanding of historical performance, we set about creating example audience personas, running a series of workshops with the FN team to define likely scenarios/user objectives and to create goal-oriented visitor flows which would form the site’s structure, and began to define the user’s preferred journey around the proposed site.

Information architecture

The collective results of our review process enabled the new site architecture and content taxonomies to be established, with each audience segment requiring their own bespoke sitemap and suggested journey based on their specific content needs.

We spent a lot of time working with FN on the site’s information architecture and, particularly, the labelling and priority of different content sections and categorisation. For example, we simplified the main navigation to promote specific user journeys and ensured that the two principal organisational objectives – their newsletter and opportunities to donate – were well signposted. Items such as About Us, News, and Jobs, which didn’t refer to a specific group of users, were considered secondary so were placed in secondary positions, as well as within the footer.

User interface design

The design look and feel of the site needed to reflect FN’s new brand, which was clean and simple with a limited colour palette. We felt that it was important that the website’s design was equally simple and clear, using flat colours and well-spaced typography to allow the content and messages to stand out. The site’s use of imagery is also key to providing warmth and to balance the dominance of white within the design. Everyone agreed that smiling stock photography was to be avoided and that the imagery needed to reflect natural situations and relationships, with real-looking people used to build an emotional connection with the site’s audience.

The workshops we conducted earlier in the process highlighted the importance of starting the user on the right journey for their requirements. When the user visits the site, they are greeted with a large positioning statement and a pulsing call to action (CTA) asking “How can we help?” There are no other menus to choose from so the user has a single choice – click or scroll. When the user selects the CTA, a large modal window appears with statements that cover each of the five agreed audience groups. The user can then decide which section reflects their personal situation, with their selection taking them to that specific area of the site.

Beneath the call to action is a series of stories from people who the charity has helped. These exist to increase the perceived trustworthiness of the charity among site visitors and to give visitors someone to relate to, pushing the ‘network’ side of the charity. This area is also used for time-sensitive campaigns and social media to further enhance engagement within the website and through other channels.

Using three core layouts (article, grid and list) the site templates can be repurposed to fit a wide gamut of content so, over the extended lifespan of the site, new content types can be created by the FN team in seconds with no need for new development costs.

Because you can never anticipate every future requirement, flexible content areas have also been included to the left and bottom of the main content on many pages. Side content is currently used to add extra information and context to the main content, without disturbing the user’s flow. However, in the future, this area can be used for a wide variety of content types including links, videos, and adverts, or any manner of things. The same content types can be used in the bottom areas, though the primary objective of these areas is to encourage the user to continue their journey and access other areas of the site.

Content management

The FN site runs on the hugely popular WordPress CMS. We chose WordPress due to its intuitive editing interface and the flexibility it offers when creating new pages from scratch. Equally, unlike proprietary CMSs, the developer community for WordPress website is huge, ensuring FN can commission further development with or without MTM’s involvement.

The results

The finished site has been live for a couple of months and it has already received some fantastic feedback from members of the FN team:

“As a small to medium-sized charity, with little internal IT expertise, it was extremely important for Fertility Network UK to have sound advice from a company that we could trust. Merchant Technology took the time to read the brief we produced, discuss our objectives, and thoroughly research the charity, as well as the subject matter, to ensure that all our key objectives were met.  The whole team supported us throughout the process and were passionate about designing and developing a website we could be proud of. The end result is a fantastic new site that goes above and beyond our expectations, and we are delighted with the finished result.”
Managing Director of Fertility Network UK

“Oh, good Lord! I love it!!! It is just SOOOOO much improved, honestly so clean, simple visually – much nicer – and makes FNUK look at lot more professional.”

“I’ve had a look at the site and I think it is terrific. It looks so fresh and inviting, and is very easy to navigate. I also like the way it is broken down into the areas of interest without feeling segregated. Basically, I think it is fabulous and really reinvigorates the charity.”

“I have to say I am blown away with how fantastic it looks and feels!  Ali and MT seriously have done an amazing job.”

“It’s beautiful!  Feels so easy to find what you want.”