Nottinghamshire British Science Association is a registered charity that exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of sciences and engineering in the UK.
When I came to Notts BSA, the organisers were keen to attract a wider audience to their events and were looking for better methods to do so.
Through consulting with the organisers I discovered that the growth of the community was hindered by the presentation of the association’s blog which was not making important information accessible. Although blog posts were high in quality, their text heavy presentation was deterring user interest and made it difficult for a visitor to abstract vital information. I also found that a lack of technical expertise within the organisation was an issue as changes could not be made to the blog when they were needed.
I suggested that NottsBSA should build a new website to organise and publicise the association. The website was a revamp of their existing blog with some simple but highly effective changes to improve the presentation and organisation of information so that it was more accessible. This was most notably achieved by introducing event posts as a separate entity from blog posts, so that key calendar dates were exposed. The new site also provides links to other “related” content wherever possible in order to encourage the discovery of more content.
As the website is driven by fresh newsletters, blogs and and events, it was important to ensure that regular updates could be made by the organisers. The website therefore operates on a “wordpress” engine, providing simple and easy to use tools for members of the association to publish content.
While consulting with NottsBSA, I recommended that the association should use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as these provide high quality publicity opportunities to develop relationships with the public. This has had a huge positive effect on the association which has a growing community of active members. Since then, a focus been made on integrating social media into the site in order to capitalise on this success.
The resultant website tackled the association’s core issues by making information available through an interface that had power in its simplicity. But it didn’t stop there – the association has been able to reach new audiences using the website’s powerful integration with social media. I am pleased that the site is increasingly utilized and yet continues run very reliably efficiently, and that it draws very positive comments from members of the association and the public. Since its deployment, the association has had a strong online presence and has seen a noticeable boost in turnout for its events.