Social Finance is an organisation that helps their partners design, fund and scale solutions to complex and enduring social issues.

What we did

  • Content strategy
  • Usability testing
  • Website design and build

Their work delivers lasting and widespread change that improves the lives of people and communities in the UK and globally.

To better serve their audience Social Finance asked us to create a new, accessible website. To help people understand who the organisation are and what they do, the new website needed to be user-centred and have clear navigation, with direct links to projects and services.


improvement in bounce rate


session duration improvement

I found everyone at William Joseph to be very knowledgeable, responsive, and really easy to work with. They were very flexible too - I’m sure the project took longer than was ideal from their perspective but I never got the sense that this was a problem or an inconvenience.

Huw Thomas, Director of Communications, Social Finance

Helpful and user-centred navigation

Before starting any design, content or development work, we first tested Social Finance’s existing website alongside a number of competitor sites. This helped us to understand what users needed and where their expectations were not being met.

One of the key changes throughout the project was to order content thematically and highlight areas of work – such as social issues, population and approach – rather than grouping by the way that Social Finance are structured internally.

Filtering projects by the people they help and the social issues they address was shown to better meet users’ needs than based on which team within Social Finance had delivered them.

Clear messaging

A key challenge was to clearly communicate what Social Finance does and what they offer. Initial usability testing revealed that the information provided was overwhelming and difficult to understand.

To address this, the team focused on creating easily digestible content and restructuring the site to be more user-friendly.

We also seized the opportunity to create content that would serve the needs of informational searches.

To show what Social Finance does, the team focused on creating easily digestible content, with more detail available for those who need it.

We tackle complex and enduring social problems, and with that often comes sensitive subject matter. This stuff is hard and it’s why our partners commission us. Some of my colleagues were worried a brand refresh might lead to a watering down of the intellectual firepower that we bring to the table. Others were worried that without a revamp we would just sound like number-crunching Daleks. We had to find the balance between head and heart.

Huw Thomas, Director of Communications, Social Finance

Designing with a new visual identity

Social Finance wanted to strike a balance between the analytical rigour they bring, and the human centred impact of their work, while also staying true to their refreshed brand identity.

We also kept their audience in mind, designing for accessibility with the use of simple language, clear headings, and easy navigation. A focus was also placed on employee branding and offering reassurance to potential employees.

Huw Thomas, Director of Communications at Social Finance, wrote a blog about embracing this complex balancing act.

Designing for the audience

Overall, the redesign of the website resulted in a more user-friendly experience, with clear and easily digestible information. We also implemented a straightforward newsletter sign-up call-to-action, addressing a previous issue with confusing options.

This helped to better serve the needs of Social Finance’s audience and effectively communicate their purpose and offering.

KPIs that really mean something

The performance of websites are often measured by standalone metrics which relate to very little.

With the website redevelopment supporting key strategic goals of Social Finance, we developed a set of indicators which aligned with their overall organisational objectives, including:

  • Improve the Social Finance brand by giving website users content that meets their needs.

  • Demonstrate Social Finance’s expertise by showcasing previous work.

  • Attract more new users, while encouraging existing users to return by creating content which people are searching for.

  • Increase the number of leads the website generates by demonstrating expertise.

  • Improve the quality and quantity of candidates by showing them what it’s like to work at Social Finance.