East Lancashire Railway
East Lancashire Railway offer an amazing experience for a huge range of visitors. From true heritage railway buffs, through schools, to families looking for a day out, to exclusive experiences from Santa and Thomas the Tank Engine to fine dining. The team came to us with a confusing array of individual websites, some very long in the tooth, and wanted us to unify all of the things they offered into one engaging, accessible, and easy to use website, that reflected the qualities of that brand identity and the heritage they offer.
User experience and design
We started by auditing the content all current websites to make sure the new website had a suitable architecture and user experience for each section, to ensure nothing was lost and everything would be gained from the new website.
We created a lot of wireframes, and we mean a LOT. For desktop and mobile screens and we played out all the key customer journeys the website needed to support as interactive prototypes that ensured we responded to the different needs of all audiences with an easy to use website that quickly got people to where they needed to go.
The website design built on this UX experience with a look and feel that, while playful in parts, was simple and clear with layered navigation and a modular approach to page layouts that would ensure visitors would quickly get to grips with how to navigate through the website in what could be quite complex information around detailed timetables and comprehensive event and experience schedules.
Website engineering and support
We expertly delivered the design work into an enterprise level WordPress build that was powerful and easy to use for the full marketing team, to ensure everything continued to function and appear just as we planned.
Full onsite training was given, and remote support given to this day as we find this is essential to ensure the best possible end result, no matter the technical framework.
Mobile was a special focus through our design and development processes as we knew it was essential from the first touch point of any customer first discovering East Lancs Railway, through to exploring everything on offer to booking to their visit. This kind of website is an integral part of the customer experience.
A big challenge was migrating all current content from a wide range of existing website solutions from Squarespace to bespoke CMS platforms. We used automated migration including crawling techniques to ensure that none of the valuable content built over the years, or the SEO value it delivered for East Lancashire Railway, was lost.
Full steam ahead
Since the website launch in Summer 2021 we have continued to work closely with the ELR team to make sure they continue to get the very best from their new website and that it has properly supported their business growth; from volunteer and staff recruitment through to the widening of events and experiences on offer at the railway.