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Elevating a hybrid Saas platform and their clients

01

The details

Client

Destination Core + Clients

Role

Freelance Design Lead

Platform

Hybrid SaaS

02

The project

Destination Core is a hybrid SaaS company which offers BIDs, which are Business Improvement Districts whose focus is to work with together with other businesses in the local area to drive footfall and engagement by investing in local services and improvements, one example of this being Shrewsbury Bid.

The second target market for DC is DMOs, or Destination Management Organisations such as Visit Worcestershire which are responsible for their destinations through the development of the economy through tourism and driving investment by understanding user & business needs. 

And lastly, a tiertary audience is retail centres, such as Lakeside Shopping Centre is also powered by the infrastructure that Destination Core also provide. DC offers two setups split across a number of tiered services. The basic comprising as an off-the-shelf white label system, allowing smaller, low budget clients get started with minimal overheads and limitations. 

The additional tiers then fall into the hybrid model, where the same core infrastructure built on the Craft CMS is used to power a feature-rich platform however with a custom UX and UI. The experience would be transformed to meet specific requirements or create features focussed on the clients requirements as they are driven from government policy, or user needs gathered from workshops and research. Each custom UI would be reflective of the brand we were working with. 

To identify the requirements which sat with client and their users, we would carry out a series of exploratory workshops, stakeholder interviews, review the analytics and behaviorial trends – particularly those which centred around offline user behavious and user interviews to idenfity which commercial package best suited each client and create the bespoke solutions required should the budget permit. Working with the leadership team at DC, we would take a strategic decision to absorb some of the development cost of a new piece of functionality due to the potential to resell the feature into other clients. 

An example of this was an increased focus from Worcestershire due to a government mandate to drive better accessibility for users. DC already had a number of baked in capabilities such as scalable font sizes, high contrast modes and code which was accessible to screen readers. But it didn’t have anything that tackled a core experience issue. When discussing with users, one pain-point that arose was that users would have to typically look at several activities and their disability support to see if it was a suitable option (i.e. wheelchair accessible). This make the discovery of things to do in the area tiresome for individuals with accessible needs. 

To tackle this, I concepted and designed a new activity discovery mechanic allowing the user to define a global preference setting which ensured only suitable venues and events were listed based on the users need. So rather than having to individually view each listing, only relevant information was shown and the user could explore through the activities knowing they would be able to visit anything presented to them. This in turn had a hugely positive impact on users with accessibility needs in being to able firstly be catered for in a way which was rarely a consideration for most websites and secondly, dramatically reduce the friction and increase discoverability for those users, leading to consistently great user feedback and high happiness scores. 

From an in-house perspective, I worked closely with the front-end engineering team to build out the foundations of a white-label design system which could be deployed quickly and reduce the time required on visual designs and development by having a consistent set of behaviours, whilst also working with the back-end engineers to design data visualisation and dashboards for the analytics engine powering DC. Finally working alongside the leadership and commercial teams to introduce new ways of working such as discovery workshops, improved sales collateral and refined the expectations with delivery management. 

Below are a few examples of the sites we created, all powered by a single CMS, with a common shared library of design language but a bespoke look and feel applied to each.

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