SpecialEffect | Success Story | Urban Element

Reaching the right audience with sleek, highly functional web design

SpecialEffect is an award-winning UK charity helping to improve the lives of people with severe physical challenges through innovative use of technology. The core of their mission is to maximise enjoyment, inclusivity and equality, helping people of all physical abilities to play video games with their friends and loved ones. 

Expanding their offering and abilities over the years, SpecialEffect’s website had been rejigged a few times and finally reached its limits. It was time for a fresh site, a fresh look and a functional content management system (CMS) that could grow with them and keep their brand image aligned all the while.

Ten years of support

For Co-Owners, Tash and Jon Ellard, as well as the broader Urban Element team, SpecialEffect has long had our support. Aware of their impactful work for more than a decade, we have jumped on every opportunity to help them raise much-needed donations. We got dirty from Mud Runs, exhausted in the Half-Marathons and enjoyed endless laughter and fun during the Twin Town Challenges. 

After so many years delighted to support the unique specialists at SpecialEffect, it was a true honour to be sought out for our own specialist skills: doing digital brilliantly.


Redesign the SpecialEffect website to appeal to numerous audience categories with a reliable and robust CMS

So much to share

The challenge and blessing faced by our team was the amount of content on the existing site. We found valuable information dating back to 2013 that had been sitting idle when it could have been telling a powerful message. But how to structure all of this content when SpecialEffect has seven different but key audience personas that need to be engaged: 

  • Disability and health community 
  • Video games industry
  • Video games community 
  • Supporters
  • Trusts and foundations
  • Local community 
  • Wider community.

We needed to design and implement a reliable and robust CMS where new content and structures could be easily added and managed internally. Reaching those diverse stakeholders would require an infallible site layout to get relevant messages across to all.

On-brand and easy to use

Collaborating with SpecialEffect on their desired outcomes, our team of digital experts designed and built a responsive site that used modular elements that users of all abilities could access. 

We designed various content types that allowed SpecialEffect to create their own structures for content that would be visually appealing, on-brand and easy to use. With these, they could add content directly to the site before it went live. 

Tracking and analytics can now take a higher priority for the team to help them better understand how the site performs, giving more opportunities to lift donations and provide better services for inquiries and beneficiaries, which would help grow their partner network.

Meeting their mark

Considering their audience categories, it was important to demonstrate the power and diversity of their beneficiary and supporter stories, the uniqueness of their work, including their extensive research and development (R&D) and specialist assessments and support. 

SpecialEffect is not only a charity. They are a respected voice of authority on games accessibility. They have an increasing number of high-level developers asking for advice in this area, and their research and development facility is recognised and respected in the gaming industry. They share free online training and gaming resources, including EyeMine, Eye Gaze Games, GameAccess Blog and more to support this sector.

Softer and stronger

SpecialEffect now boasts a site that is softer in look and feel, with a stronger functionality that will allow them to easily add and create new content while keeping clear messaging and relevant to their numerous audience categories. 

Those in need of SpecialEffect services — whether it’s their essential charity work or insights on building more inclusive games — can now find the information they need. 

When it comes time to review, we expect a 20% increase in the number of visitors to the Who We Helped case study pages, the number of direct unattributed email newsletter signups via the website, and the number of one-off non-campaign donations directly via the website donation facility.

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