Content Design London

Case study: Iterating domestic abuse content with Hestia

Published 24 February 2021, by Clare Reucroft in Content Design Content Process.

Content Design London was hired by Hestia to work on new content for a website prototype of their domestic abuse app, Bright Sky. Hestia wanted to address content issues with the app, understand its different audiences and create content that would meet their needs.


Hestia are committed to focusing on user centred design and offering a really positive integrated experience, both online and offline. They wanted to open up their domestic abuse content to a much wider audience. To do this, they needed to move the Bright Sky mobile app to a desktop prototype.

Digital innovation lead at Hestia, Eve Critchley, said: “We were trying to solve a lot of different problems and meet a lot different audience needs on domestic abuse. This was an opportunity to focus on the really core things that make a difference for people.”

What CDL did

We started the project by hosting stakeholder interviews to identify our main areas of focus for the project. It was also vitally important to understand what they wanted the content to achieve.

“Bright Sky should provide an almost virtual one-stop-shop of initial information and guidance, as well as a directory for where to find domestic abuse support,” - Bright Sky stakeholder.

From these initial conversations, we decided to work on Bright Sky’s self assessment and bystander “quizzes”. This content aims to help domestic abuse victims reflect on their experiences and evaluate whether they are in an abusive situation. It also aims to help people (bystanders such as friends, family and colleagues) recognise the signs of someone experiencing domestic abuse.

So that CDL could iterate the current quiz content, we researched forum language around domestic abuse and created a bank of user needs. We also worked with Hestia’s team to produce journey maps for these two user groups, charting both the online and offline steps in the journeys.

Our team collaborated closely with Hestia’s development partners to design content that would reflect and meet the user needs. We focused heavily on iterating tone and considered cognitive load in the visual design. It was important to use language that would tap into how domestic abuse victims might describe their situations.

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Screenshots of the old app self assessment content.

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Screenshots of the iterated content on the new website on desktop and mobile.

The results

Professional assessment content has been transformed into a tool that really helps someone to reflect on their experiences. The language and tone are purposeful in relation to the intended audience and aimed at helping them to assess their situation.

In a recent usability session, a few users commented,

“I appreciated the comforting and reassuring tone throughout the site, particularly the reminder, ‘You are not alone’ ”

“It was easy to click through the site and find what I was looking for. I could see which information was clearly aimed at a survivor versus a friend or colleague”

“I really liked the simplicity of the homepage and the direct way it prompts two types of people looking for support and information”

What CDL achieved for Hestia

We asked Hestia what outcomes were achieved from doing the project with CDL:

“We’ve been able to learn the content design process and understand the thinking behind it. That’s been firmly embedded within the team.

The journey mapping helped us to keep in mind the realities of what domestic abuse victims and bystanders are dealing with, every day.

Our team knows what good looks like and what we’re aiming for now. I’m not a content specialist, but I know what a difference it makes when you involve content specialists,” - Eve Critchley, digital innovation lead at Hestia.

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