arrow-down arrow-left arrow-left2 arrow-right Arrow-Left arrow-up Circlecreative-brief Facebook instagram linkedin locationplay twitter


Inland Waterways Association


Inland Waterways Association

Navigating the waterways

After delivering a highly successful brand identity for IWA, they invited us back to aid in the UX design and build of their new website.

The incumbent looked dated and its purpose was ill-defined. It had a severe case of identity crisis, as well as confusing user journeys, where information and content had been bolted onto the site over a number of years at an exponential rate due to the success of the charity.

The new website needed to be focused on the core objectives of recruiting new members, encouraging more volunteers and securing donations. It would act as a central place for interacting with the majority of its stakeholders. The new site had to be streamlined, easy to use and incorporate the new branding and vision of the IWA.


The Heartbeat

Protecting the future of the waterways

The fundamental part of this brief was creating an online vehicle that facilitated IWA’s brand responsibility and cause, empowering the community through members, volunteers and donors being part of protecting the waterways.

By listening to this brand responsibility we were able to create a community hub for all, whether through acquisition, retention or advocation for the charity.

We looked at planning the way all audience types would interact, making sure that the information we were supplying them with was direct, to the point and met all their overall needs as a user.

At the heart of all pages and journeys is a constant reminder of the mission and purpose of IWA. They highlighted how important the waterways are to the history of the area and the communities across the country.

UX strategy

The UX strategy focussed on the three core user goals of the website, all centred around how the user could help – donate, volunteer or join as a member. Our primary objection was to increase membership across the country, but we didn’t want to create hierarchy of importance over the other two means of aid.

In using the brand’s identity we were able to clearly mark out the important calls to action and be up front in the need from the user, balancing and backing that up with a website full of advisory, editorial, informational and case study based content, that spanned both from a local and national level.

Our standard mobile-first approach to the website meant that we were being decisive about the importance of all content, not only reducing the content from the previous website, but creating flexibility and room to grow for future content without running into the same issues from the previous website.


A restriction for any charity is the use of budget and taking that away from the primary cause. Therefore asset creation such as imagery and video content is difficult to easily produce. However, imagery is proven to be an important part of user engagement and in creating positive perceptions about the brand.

We created an extension of the brand identity through illustrated, storytelling assets. Whether static or moving, they help create a sense of imagination and inspire nostalgia around the story of the waterways throughout people’s lives. They are playful, light and create focus on the messaging and ask at hand.


The Results

The reaction across the IWA organisation, both from employees and volunteers, has been nothing but positive. Stakeholders are easily able to find vital information, branches of the IWA are able to feel ownership of their branch microsite without feeling divided away from the core brand and volunteers now have a central hub.

We are waiting on results in terms of initial objectives, but the signs are positive. What we hope and expect is that interaction with the website will greatly improve and there will be an increase in membership sign-up as well as donation and volunteers.

Overall through, what IWA now have is a carefully planned and detailed digital experience, streamlined for people to enjoy and play a part in restoring 6500 miles of canals and rivers across the country.

Related work

Inland Waterways Association

Representing 6,500 miles of Britain's rivers and canals.

Capitals Coalition

United behind a new decision-making process

Thames Valley Air Ambulance

The best, when the worst happens.

Nuffield Foundation

Advocates for change.

St John & St Elizabeth Hospital

Unifying the hospital's clinics and services through one hub.

St John's Hospice

Donation and community involvement made easy.


Do you have a project you’d like our help with?

Work with us