Barnardos were keen to develop on a more stable and secure platform; Drupal was the ideal option as they had also recently developed a new intranet using Drupal.

The Problem

Barnardos originally approached Signify with concerns about the performance and security of their website. Signify carried out a formal security audit which revealed some serious security issues.

As a result, Barnardos decided to develop on a more stable and secure platform - Drupal was the ideal option, as they had also recently developed a new intranet using Drupal.

Aside from the security issues, Barnardos found that the website was no longer meeting the needs of their users or their business. There were concerns over the information architecture, confusing navigation, handling of diverse audience needs, and lack of integration with current branding.

Barnardos decided on a phased approach to delivering a new website: Phase one would involve a review and presentation of the business and user needs along with a new user-driven information architecture. Phase two would be the development and build of the new site(s).

What We Did

As phase one, Signify ran workshops with stakeholders from around New Zealand to identify their needs of the website - key themes were:

  • a user-centred approach
  • location-based information
  • 0800 What’s Up website to be a children and young-persons/teens portal
  • complement provided services
  • facilitate use of Barnardos Services/Childcare
  • provide online resources
  • improve business as usual processes (e.g. job applications)
  • expand E-Commerce options


We then developed an information architecture and wireframes based on these business needs. The key feature was splitting the site into two sites – Barnardos for corporate, fundraising, and child and family services information; and Barnardos Childcare for their centre-based and KidStart childcare services.

It also included the ability to search for services by ‘type’ of service or geographic location, and the concept of local hubs for each regional service office or childcare centre.

Our design partner Cato Partners took our wireframes and produced the final design. We worked closely with them throughout their design process, particularly around how the site would scale to the smaller mobile device screens.

In Phase two we began the technical build, and concurrently ran some user-testing on the proposed information architecture using Treejack. The Treejack results allowed us to tweak our proposed structure to be more user-friendly.

We sought a similar look and feel for the two websites, with variations in colour and branding to differentiate them. This was carried through to the build phase, as a lot of functionality was common between both sites. The solution was to build the main site first, then choose a point to clone it as a foundation for the Childcare site, saving a lot of double-handling of work.

Features of the website include (but are not limited to):

  • ability to search for services provided by location, problem, or free text
  • a map interface to search for both local services or childcare locations
  • job application ads with an application process that forwards submissions to relevant people within the organisation to process
  • news archive; searchable by date and free text search


Technology Used

Drupal 7.