A woman with long brown hair smiles at the camera. She wears a white top and stands against a plain background.

Claire explains what’s changed on our website and why

We've launched a new website! Our Head of Digital Transformation, Claire, provides a guide to the new website, covering what has changed and why.

We’re very excited to share our new website with you. We’ve been working hard on this over the last year and hope that you’ll find it easier to use and more engaging. I want to share a little about what has changed and why, how people affected by visible difference were involved, and what is next for digital at Changing Faces.

Why did the website need to change?

The last year, since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, has resulted in us (like most organisations) needing to accelerate our digital delivery.

We’ve experienced a big surge in use of our online support, with:

  • A 53% increase year on year in people visiting our website.
  • 85,000 views of our advice pages since the start of the pandemic.

We’d already planned to update our website and had been successful in securing funding from a generous charitable trust, but COVID-19 made it even more important.

Hard to find what we needed… Some content irrelevant and out of date… It needs to feel vibrant, lively and current.

Anonymous user of the old Changing Faces website

We know that accessing face-to-face support remains important for our community. However, our research with people with visible differences shows that our online services are vital to ensure that we reach more people, especially those from under-represented communities.

Fundamentally, the old website was outdated and made it difficult for people to access help or take action by donating or supporting our campaigns. It didn’t meet accessibility standards, which risked excluding people from our support, and it buried the stories of people affected by visible difference. It also didn’t reflect our brand which has evolved in recent years.

What has changed?

Working with our digital partner, Fat Beehive, we’ve made a number of changes to the website, including:

  • Creating a bold new look and feel.
  • Making it much more user friendly on mobile devices, as the majority of people who come to our website are using a mobile phone.
  • Improving the navigation to make it easier for you to find the content that we know is important to you, especially the real stories from people affected by visible difference.
  • Rewriting existing content to ensure it is consistent, engaging, and optimised for search engines like Google (so that everyone looking for support related to visible difference finds us).
  • Adding new content so that it’s clearer who Changing Faces is, how we can help, why our work matters, and how you can support us.
  • Creating a clearer distinction between content for people living with visible difference, and resources for professional audiences like health professionals, teachers and employers, who can help improve the lives of those affected.

It’s interesting to see others with facial disfigurement, like me – mine is maxillofacial, due to cancer.

Anonymous website user

How did we involve people affected by visible difference?

We collated existing user research and data, before running workshops to analyse what this told us about your needs from the website.

We used this analysis to develop “user personas” that tell stories about what different audiences want and their typical journeys on the website. These personas kept us focused and helped inform decisions throughout the project.

We then tested the new website structure through a digital survey, making changes where it looked like the navigation was causing confusion. This survey also told us what you wanted to see more of – information about what Changing Faces does, condition-specific information (which we have plans to develop further), and real stories.

Real stories are helpful to know you’re not alone, they give encouragement and confidence.

Anonymous website user

We also consulted with you on decisions around language. This included what to call our blogs (you voted for ‘real stories’) and how you wanted to search those stories (by type of visible difference). We also asked what categories of visible difference make the most sense to you (for example burns, birthmarks, hair loss or skin conditions).

We will continue to involve and consult with you on future developments to our digital service offer.

What’s next?

We’re confident that the new website will prove easier to use and provide a better experience, but a website is never finished. Now that the initial launch is behind us, we can concentrate on making continuous improvements to the site. Our priority is to further develop our digital support offer for everyone affected by visible difference.

The improved digital and technical capability offered by our new site will also be critical to our ambitions for growing our impact and reach in the years ahead.

Tell us what you think

Have a look around and let us know what you think by completing the form below. We really hope you like it!

If your comment is about an issue, please be as detailed as possible

For example https://www.changingfaces.org.uk/advice-guidance

By providing your email address, we will be able to follow-up with you if we have any questions or let you know when an issue is resolved.

If you would like to be involved in future website research, please make sure you have included your email address.

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What we do

Changing Faces is the UK’s leading charity for people with a scar, mark or condition. Learn more about how we support the visible difference community.

Real stories

Read or listen to real stories from people affected by visible difference, their parents and families, as well as Changing Faces staff and volunteers. Inspired to share your story? We’d love to hear it - share your story now.

Types of visible difference

Find out about the main types of visible difference and disfigurement. We also share links to real stories and further information.