Our new mobile friendly design

On December 10 we successfully launched a new design style and simplified navigation for the National Autistic Society website.

Many things will be familiar to you. Our logo is still at the top of every page and the colours and the fonts remain very similar to the old design.

We have preserved and improved the information on the website but now this will be accessed using a different style of navigation. Our information about autism, schools and services is still there, as is our information for professionals and our information about how to get involved with The National Autistic Society.

Critically the website will now look great and be much easier to use on a smart phone or tablet computer.  This is important because over half of the visitors to our website now use these devices.

Questions and answers

Why did you make these changes?

To be mobile friendly. Our old design did not work very well on smart phones and tablet computers. More and more people are using these devices to visit and read our website. In fact, nearly 53% of visits come from people using these devices. We wanted to make sure everyone can use our website, whatever device they use.

Google's search engine has started favouring websites that are "mobile friendly" and penalising websites that are not. In order to make sure everyone can find us through Google’s search function, we needed a website that Google ranks highly.

User demand. We conducted a website user survey in 2014, in which over 1,600 people gave us feedback on our website and told us what they liked and didn’t like. We also worked with expert researchers, who conducted tests and interviews with a group of our users (including autistic people) while they used our website

From this, we learned where the website performed well as where it performed poorly. The changes we have made address many of the issues identified in this research.

Supporting The National Autistic Society’s strategy. Since the last redesign of the website six years ago, we have changed. We now have a clear new set of priorities set out in our five year strategic plan. It is important that our website is designed to support the objectives and aims set out in this plan.

 Have people with autism been consulted?

We involved autistic people at all stages of the project. The 2014 user survey included responses from 446 autistic people and user lab-testing included several autistic adults. During the design process, we tested designs with groups of autistic people at key points. Autistic people also helped build the new website.

Will this make the site more accessible to people with disabilities?

Technology changes all the time and we have taken into consideration accessibility at all points in the project. We have followed current accessibility principles and practice. Modern web browsers, tablets and smart phones now include great tools to help people with disabilities use websites. By making our website mobile friendly, people will now be able to use these tools more fully.

We have removed the “browsaloud” feature and the text size and a colour “switcher” from the website. These changes are now more easily accomplished with your web browser or device. Only a very small number of people used these.

We have updated our guidance on accessibility.

Can I to give you feedback on the changes?

Yes!  Please use the feedback form at the bottom of this page

Your feedback will be used to judge if the changes are for the better and what we still can improve on. We will also conduct another major user survey in Spring 2016 to gain feedback and measure whether we have improved the website.

Is this the end of improvements?

No! We have not been able to make every part of the website mobile friendly in this project. During 2016 and beyond, we will be working to fix these areas to make sure they work well on desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phone.

We will also be responding to feedback gathered after the launch and using data from tests and user surveys to inform our improvement plan. 

Key changes

Homepage

Our homepage will work much better of tablets and mobile phones. It will look similar to this on your desktop or laptop. The main image is a little larger and there are fewer but bigger buttons.

Front page of new site 

It will look like this on a smart phone. The buttons will become a column that you can swipe down.

Mobile

Menus and navigation

The main (horizontal) menu will include these sections. The number of sections has been reduced to four:

  • Autism advice
  • Our services
  • Get involved
  • Professionals.

Drop down menu 

The left hand menu has been replaced by a drop down menu labelled "In this section".

In this section 

Content

Article

Most of the content will be the same. Without the left hand menu, always in view, pages should be less cluttered and easier to read. Links should be clearer and we are no longer using the script typeface Rabiohead because many people found it hard to read.

Finding content

We have moved some content into new places on the website. We have kept this to a minimum but you may not find content where you previously found it. The search button is in the same place and this can be used to find the pages you are looking for.

Search 

Areas that may not be mobile-friendly

Our website is pretty large and complicated with over 2,000 pages of content and many complex areas. When using the website after the launch you may have difficulty using the following areas on your tablet of smart phone:

  • The Community. This is a separate website.
  • Network Autism. This is a separate website.
  • Our job applications page. This is a separate website.

We will be working to fix these issues over the coming weeks and months. Our aim is to introduce a website that responds to the needs of users in 2016, and fixing every issue would have significantly delayed the project.

Give us your feedback