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A Church Near You

Overhauling the Church of England’s largest digital property and producing 16,000 church websites in 8 weeks.

With ACNY, DEV helped transition thousands of editors to a new platform, clean up data and create an experience that had served over 1.8million searches this year.

Early in 2017 the Church of England conducted some research on how to get the most from the new A Church Near You. They spoke to nearly 2000 people across the country to gather insights and thoughts on how to make the service much better for a site that receives more than 13 million page views each year. DEV was brought in to produce the next generation of the platform.

DEV dived into addressing the research feedback with an agile design process working with a team of users who fed back on interactive wireframes and clickable designs. After getting to a high level of confidence the development sprints began on working of delivering a robust MVP that would improve the content editing experience as well as the experience for the public. There is so much great work that you don’t see in this project because it’s been behind the scenes, from automating data cleaning to working with several departs to bring data together to save people time. The project has now matured and is in a cycle of smaller sprints that deliver additional functionality and maintenance as required.

One of the biggest wins was in reinventing the way editors joined the platform and were approved to edit. Previously there were system restrictions that placed a heavy manual work load on a few individuals. This has been replaced with a part-automated system that gets editors logged in and updating content faster. This in turn lead to better public engagement and users getting the right information faster.

In the first phase of the project we transitioned and on-boarded over 13,000 users, who administer over 16,000 microsites, and has already served several million pages to over 1.6 million unique users in its first year - all with a great level of server performance. The project sees a seasonal spike in the run up to Christmas, with previous years seeing 100k users in a 24 hour period… and we haven’t even started on the numbers for API usage that supplies data to other systems including the Church of England Alexa app!

If you’re interested in transforming a digital platform to delight users we’d love to hear from you.

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ACNY screenshot