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Nautilus International

How robust stakeholder research helped us to deliver a best-in-class membership website Digital Development

The Challenge

Nautilus is the world’s largest maritime trade union; it works tirelessly to protect the interest of its 22,000 members’ interests and campaigns on their behalf.

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Nautilus international members wanted a website that worked for them, wherever they were. They wanted a site that spoke to them at every stage of their career and offered easy access to critical information and unique insights. They wanted a site built for mobile, that worked in the middle of the ocean and still looked great on any device.

They wanted a union website built for the future. Recognising that delivering on these charges required a strong, digitally-focused agency partner to design and develop a new website that better reflected the evolving nature of how its members interact with the union and how they choose to consume its content.

The Solution

Calling all seafarers, fast

The MTM Agency’s team of digital designers, strategists and UX (user experience) experts worked hand-in-hand with Nautilus’ leadership team and key stakeholders to understand the union’s position in the marketplace, the challenges it faces and its many opportunities for growth.
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During the ‘discovery and exploration’ project phases, we interviewed internal teams, listened to experienced seafarers and heard from newly graduated sea cadets to truly understand what each needed from the new Nautilus website. Taking the time to speak to these and other stakeholder groups was essential for us to understand how members used the current site and their unique requirements for the future. We also ran an online survey and email questionnaire with users of the existing Nautilusint.org website, revealing a number of significant insights.
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Our research, supported by Nautilus’s own findings, concluded that external stakeholders wanted the site to be clearer, with simplified journeys, increased personalisation and fast access to key information – even for those on low bandwidth connections at sea. We also recognised the importance of creating an environment that would benefit the union and its day-to-day operations, with true integration of Nautilus’s CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, to make managing members requirements much quicker and easier, including offering membership renewals and payment options within the site.
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With these requirements in hand, we agreed the preferred CMS, Episerver’s cloud-based DXC platform, and using Azure core infrastructure. Episerver was chosen from a number of open-source and licence-based options and best met our recommended technical approach to the project – utilising light-weight development technologies used by the latest progressive web apps, such as Twitter and Uber. With a nod to the UK Government’s award-winning simplified design system, we also leveraged the latest ‘atomic design’ techniques and optimised CSS to create a site that would perform in low-bandwidth conditions, whilst still delivering a rich desktop experience.
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UX and Performance

In addition to its dramatically improved UX and performance, key features of the new, multi-lingual/multi-regional site include a ‘best-in-class’ membership engine, fully integrated with Nautilus’ CRM and offering optimised joining forms and account management areas. The new site also features totally overhauled ‘My Nautilus’, ‘Telegraph’ magazine and media sections, with members benefiting from new levels of content personalisation, based on defined user groups, to maximise member engagement and increase revisit frequency.
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Mobile Application

A native app was also developed for both iOS and Android to support Nautilus’ members, offering a direct and discreet channel for crew to report incidents at sea from anywhere in the world. Of almost equal importance was the need to deliver a highly-intuitive back-end editing experience, one that empowered the Nautilus team and enabled them to quickly and easily build perfectly designed pages from scratch, or simply add new content in seconds.


The MTM Agency impressed us with its enthusiasm, engagement, and inquisitiveness, was curious about what we do and keen to help us improve. The proposed solution fitted perfectly and was managed into development, testing and deployment with the minimum of fuss. The MTM Agency is made up of teams of very capable people who take a ‘human’ view of resolving issues.

Roger Garside
IT Manager - Nautilus


With a speed increase of 6,600% in loading time at sea in comparison to the previous site, everyone can be sure the site will load quickly even out in the pacific ocean.

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Rise in the number of overall monthly users
Increase in return users
Surge in use by mobile users


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