Adopting content design practices at the BFI

The British Film Institute (BFI) hired us to put content design processes and skills into practice, by working alongside their digital team.

The British Film Institute (BFI) is a film and television charitable organisation, which promotes and preserves filmmaking and television in the United Kingdom. It also awards National Lottery funding for filmmaking and film education.

Our work with the BFI was part of the organisation's digital transformation project. It contributed towards their new public beta website, launched in September 2020.

The challenge

The BFI recognised that they needed to improve their content operations. To do this, they needed to change how people:

  • thought,
  • behaved,
  • worked on content together.

The goal was to enable their teams to work together successfully, so they could design and manage user centred content.

How we solved it

We started by working with the BFI's digital team and its national archive team. From talking to them, we created a bank of user needs and a set of user journeys that they could use to design further content.

We worked alongside the digital team and shared our content design skills and expertise. We also provided training sessions across the organisation on the discipline of content design.

We also:

  • took part and advised in stakeholder meetings,
  • helped with Agile ceremonies,
  • wrote weeknotes to track our progress.

The results

Catheryne Littlejohns, Head of Digital Production at the BFI, said:

"It was a big mental shift away from the traditional publishing model. Suddenly that language became an important part of our narrative. It was about how you write the content but from a design perspective, which we hadn’t thought about before.”

The BFI's Digital Production Manager, Dan Smith, said:

“It’s demonstrable that people are moving through [the pages as intended]. Exit rates along those journeys have decreased substantially.

For example, the exit rate for searching and accessing our archive collection is down to 9%. [This means that] ...people aren’t seeing that as the end of their journey because they’re going on to do something else.

This is exactly what we’d want them to do [...] to act on the desire to do some research."

Booking a meeting

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