Creating a bright and playful digital presence for leading UK nursery brand
Spring Nurseries is partly owned by the charity Action for Children and offer award-winning, affordable early years education and childcare, with all their nurseries rated 100% Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, or equivalent standards in Scotland and Wales. Earlier this year, Spring purchased Oscars childcare, primarily offering holiday clubs and operating out-of-school care in Edinburgh and the Lothians since 1992.
As an organisation they faced a challenge; to deliver a website and digital experience that demonstrated their brand as part of the Action for Children family as well as bringing in the existing Oscars brand under their umbrella without confusing prospective clients.
Setting a structure
Although the final resolution appears quite simple, the website content is wide-reaching and specific. There are Spring childcare nurseries that run during the day, each for a specific age group and there are nurseries that cater primarily to the military such as the RAF. With Oscars seasonal holiday clubs and Oscars breakfast and after-school clubs for specific age groups, our Studiomade team had to build a controllable Content-Mangement-System that could tackle all needs and be super flexible.
Our key concern was making this depth of content quick and easy to navigate without being overwhelming. This made the wireframing and CX stage imperative so that we could ensure that all content was catered for including anything seasonal. This was also valuable for ensuring that all functionality such as integrations with Daynurseries.co.uk were included.
Managing the brand
We have worked with Action for Children for a number of years across other projects such as their successful Secret Santa campaign and Byte Night. From this client experience, we have a really good understanding of their core brand which positively helped when tackling this project. A lot of the ideas such as bold bright colours and patterning had been replicated throughout and adapted in a manner that best suited overall brand consistency.
Although this bright and primary colour palette really works well for young children, reflecting a bit of their sense of life and excitement, it did bring some design challenges. When dealing with intense saturated colours it can sometimes appear overwhelming to users and doesn’t necessarily allow for different ‘volumes’ of call-to-action. To tackle this, we made additions to the palette which provided the UI a breadth needed to craft an effective digital design language.
We wanted to keep the playful nature throughout and so used the patterns of hands and feet around key modules as a sort of colourful frame and created small illustrations for key facts such as the Oftsted rating and the day nurseries figure. We also softened all the edges to keep that approachable feeling, giving large photography modules rounded corners and bringing in the brand font ‘Baloo’ with its nod to bubble writing within all headings.
Providing the client ownership
A really common issue that clients share with our team as part of briefing a digital project is previous experience of how hard it is to edit or update their website. The existing Spring website which we were replacing had very little built into it’s Content Management System and the way it had been built meant that it wasn’t modular meaning things wouldn’t repeat throughout the site. We ensured that all content points could be controlled within the CMS in a clearly set out way so that the website really worked as a business tool. This allows the client to easily make a wide range of content changes including but not limited to the addition in new nurseries (which would then automatically add them to the map), updating of holiday club pages, adding new after-school clubs and promoting any element they liked within the main header.
We also wanted to give the client the tools to ensure that they could promote the website well socially and so built a series of animations for them that they could use across each of their Nursery Instagram profiles aiding announcements and promoting particular events. Their fun, playful brand being brought to life within these small idents.
We have esthablished a united digital presence for the merged business. With a newly defined and completely customiseable Content Management System, the client continues to receive excellent customer feedback on website performance, communication functionality and overall effectiveness.
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