Noble Digital initially started working with Stourport Forward, a local non-profit focused on the regeneration of Stourport-on-Severn, in 2019. Our early work was to advise on IT infrastructure and to bring the existing town website onto our hosting environment. We continued to be on hand to help out with an array of digital challenges.
The successful Stourport Town website has been run by Stourport Forward since it was launched in 2010 and has weekly views of around 6,000 people interested in the town. However like so many, it had become difficult to update and bloated by continually evolving content that the site’s architecture couldn’t handle. The result was a confusing to navigate website that didn’t serve the needs of the community.
We believe that the trust people put in community websites is directly related to the information presented being up to date and useful, and for that to happen without a huge amount of overhead. We pitched an idea where users would have the ability to participate and manage their own information.
Our redesign and build included content and functionality aimed both at local organisations & residents, as well as visitors to the town. Furthermore, we also implemented an events calendar and community standards that allows anyone in the town to post community events, find out about places to visit, where to stay, what shops are on the high street and what events are on in town.
The site is architected using dynamic content as an underlying principle – all content is tagged with public facing filters (e.g. takeaway restaurants) that users can refine their selections with, and behind-the-scenes tags for audience suitability. As part of future planned work, we will create a ‘Plan your visit’ area whereby district groups (e.g. families with small children) can see all events, organisations and attractions most suitable for them in one place.
To reduce admin overheads on Stourport Forward, we also worked to create a comprehensive set of community guidelines, as well as a robust self-serve functionality for individuals and businesses to add their details to a town directory or list attractions and manage/claim their own listings.
Stourport Forward staff only have to approve/reject content as opposed to sourcing and editorialising (although this is still possible if desired).
The economic impact of local lockdowns caused by coronavirus has hit small high streets like that in Stourport particularly hard, another reason Stourport Forward acted to create this new resource – something that almost everyone in town would be able to access and use safely and remotely, without having to subscribe to specific social networks.
Stourport Forward’s Chairman, David Willetts said:
“We know how tough it has been for local businesses during the pandemic. Just as our businesses have got going again, we’re back into lockdown. We wanted local people to have the opportunity to showcase their businesses, so that potential visitors to the town will be able to see what’s on offer.”
Our Managing Director Larry Brangwyn commented:
“We believe websites can be better and are always looking for ways in which we can raise the expectations people have in community websites such as Stourport Town. By leveraging technology to help organisations and individuals manage their own content on the website, it is more likely that the information presented will remain an up-to-date and relevant resource for residents and visitors alike.”
Stourport Forward gave us this lovely feedback on the work conducted:
The timeline that Larry proposed has generated quite a few heritage enquiries, which is great for our heritage rooms collection. Our online directory is also going well, and businesses are able to upload and amend their own details, which will be very helpful going forward. When we are able to re-start our events, the events calendar will be a great local reference too.
I have been particularly impressed by Noble's ability to solve technical issues and even re-write parts of programmes to make something work for us. Larry’s knowledge and understanding of web and social media are extremely helpful, and its good to know that someone will make sure that everything keeps working!
A great deal of the web is focused on user-generated content – providing a platform on which anyone can get exposure, or connect with like-minded people in almost any area imaginable. This can be for anything from writing to art, video, events, good causes, memes… the list is endless.
That’s why we also create bespoke, dynamic web applications like these that use automation to take the load off you. It’s never been easier to run a community website, a membership service, or to take advantage of the latest in mobile caching and acceleration technology.
If you’re interested in connecting people using systems that take the load off managing large numbers of relationships, facilitating retained revenues, or simply creating value around the hard work undertaken to create your content, talk to us today.