Tommy's case study

Taking a sensitive approach to a website redesign

Campaign: Content and experience management

Tommy’s was founded in 1992 when two obstetricians at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, along with one of their patients, started to raise money for research into premature birth. This led to a dedicated centre at the hospital in 1997 – the first ever to focus on pre-eclampsia and premature birth.

Since then, Tommy’s Centres have opened across the UK as the charity has become a vital source of pregnancy information, support and research. With this growing network, Tommy’s work has expanded beyond miscarriage and stillbirth and into advice for all pregnant women and their families. The charity aims not only to provide information to future parents but also, through its research, to halve the number of babies that die during pregnancy by 2030.

This ever-widening remit across all maternal and foetal health topics was starting to affect the form and function of the Tommy’s website. With over 5,000 pages of content, written over time by many people and lacking a coherent tone of voice, the website had become difficult to navigate. This not only affected anyone looking for information but also those wanting to donate to the charity.

More problematic was the lack of internal division between advice, support and information on baby loss and pregnancy. This meant that a person seeking reassurance on the state of her healthy pregnancy could be given search results that weren’t relevant to them. 

Tommy’s chose Manifesto as its digital partner to position a redesigned website not just as the best in class provider of pregnancy advice, support and encouragement but also as a simple, safe and secure environment where people could donate to the charity and future parents could learn more about their life journey.

A simplified journey towards targeted advice

Manifesto was tasked to provide a simpler website experience that took each user down the required path and showed them highly relevant content. This work had four main priorities:

  • • A modern technology base that would be fit-for-purpose for years to come
  • • A suitable, compassionate tone of voice across all content
  • • Adding an easy-to-navigate donation funnel that informed readers of the incredible work done by Tommy’s before guiding them towards multiple payment methods
  • • Internal divisions between pregnancy and miscarriage information and support to avoid panicking or upsetting readers with inappropriate and poorly targeted page suggestions

A design approach based on addressing individual  needs

Tommy’s website was starting to creak at the seams due to the amount of information on it as well as the age of the underlying technology. In order for the rebuild to have strong foundations that would serve it well into the future, one of Manifesto’s first suggestions was to upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, allowing the site to use the very best of modern tools. 

A lot of thought was also given to tone of voice in early planning meetings, not only to establish a familiar tone across the entire website but also to distinguish advice and reassurance in different parts of it. For example, while a generally optimistic mood suits advice and discussion of healthy pregnancies, a more consoling tone suits matters relating to miscarriage and health problems. Yet in both cases, it’s a fine line between being compassionate and sounding either too upbeat or too cautious.

Using the website as a donation funnel was a new marketing direction for Tommy’s, so another consideration was how to use modern tools to maximise the fundraising potential as well as automate this side of the charity.

Meeting the demands of individuals

As Tommy’s has matured, it has become a place to find information about all aspects of pregnancy, not just miscarriages, which led to the creation of the Pregnancy Hub, which supports and informs mothers to be throughout their pregnancy. 

The previous website already provided a range of calculators, wellbeing, safer pregnancy and planning for pregnancy supportive tools. These included caffeine intake, ovulation, due date and BMI calculators. As part of the rebuild, the existing calculator logic was ‘lifted and shifted’ to the new site in a migration that also offered the opportunity to improve and refine the user experience while creating a shared visual look for all.


A hierarchical taxonomy vocabulary

A parent-to-be experiencing a healthy pregnancy does not want to be alarmed by details of miscarriage any more than one who has suffered a pregnancy loss wants to read about the joy of childbirth. For this reason, the site delivers separate content for Tommy’s two discrete audiences.

This was achieved by delivering a ‘hierarchical taxonomy vocabulary’ which tagged words most common to each audience and based searches on the most applicable and appropriate results. In this way, users of the Pregnancy Hub, for example, can look for advice and reassurance without being presented by possibly distressing information about losing a baby.


Automating the delivery of personalised messages

The website’s new donation funnel was designed to run effectively and to appeal to donors without ever seeming pushy. For these reasons, it was integrated with Adestra. This off-the-shelf email marketing software automates the delivery of personalised messages based on each customer’s observed behaviours as well as any personal data they have supplied to an organisation. In this way, Tommy’s can now send donors requests and updates designed to interest and engage them. This, along with the integration of a range of popular payment methods including PayPal, credit cards, Google Pay and Apple Pay, have set up the donation side of the website for years to come.


Tailoring donation asks

To improve donations, Manifesto delivered the concept of a ‘donation widget’, which allows Tommy’s to set a number of donation options once which then appear in multiple locations across the website. This allows site editors to tailor donation asks and custom email journeys based on the campaign being featured as well as the wishes of the individual user who is viewing it. Additionally, instant payments using the most popular payment methods appear up front on the website. This reduces the number of steps a user has to take, thus increasing the likelihood of them completing a donation.

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