The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is the peak body for the clean energy industry in Australia.
The non-profit project is committed to accelerating the transformation of Australia’s energy system to one that is smarter and cleaner. As the organisation has evolved, its network of websites no longer met business or user needs. The CEC wanted to enter into a website redevelopment project that would vastly improve the service experience through its digital platforms for key audiences.
After an RFP tender process, the CEC selected Evolution 7 to design and engineer a digital solution that could respond to the needs and behaviours of multiple audiences and serve as a digital home for clean energy. Evolution 7 undertakes significant user experience research to consolidate the CEC’s business under one roof and connect the right information to the right stakeholders to maximise awareness, membership leads, and event bookings.
A complex mission in information architecture
The CEC is a membership organisation which represents and collaborates with over 600 leading businesses operating in the renewables sector, along with more than 6000 solar installers. Acting on behalf of its members, the organisation lobbies the government for improved policy and works with the industry to advance Australia’s demand and supply of clean energy.
The CEC’s preexisting digital presence included six websites tailored to specific audience groups and business functions. With consumers, industry and government stakeholders accessing information across different websites, the user experience was ineffectual with potential members and advocates becoming lost and abandoning the sites. One of Evolution 7’s core challenges would be in ensuring the right information was getting to the right people.
Because of the scale and size of the redevelopment project, it was split into three phases. This met the financial needs of NFP business while getting great work underway. Phase one, discussed in the following showcase, focused on the strategic setup and core site development. Kicking things off with the largest challenge; how do people restructure the information architecture of six existing websites?
Eradicate confusion with minimal design
Our design team worked within the CEC’s brand guidelines but were given flexibility in terms of overall look and feel as well as selecting core colours from an existing palette. There were two main challenges when it came to the design: how to limit distraction for users and how to embody an innovative and collaborative industry.
As the website houses a large volume of content, clean design would benefit all users. This meant using white space, bold use of primary brand colours and striking typography. For the colour selection, white and orange feels better represented the progressive nature of the organisation, adding an air of optimism as opposed to the black that featured in the previous sites.
The new designs allowed for extensive use of imagery. Large photographic headers and footers across the site add context to content and create an instant impact.
Primary CEC website properties include
• Clean Energy Council Website – targeted to business members
• Solar Accreditation website – targeted to solar installers (information about becoming an accredited installer, along with a login portal where installers can complete assessments and apply to be accredited and manage their accreditation). This website also targeted general consumers with information around clean energy, the solar industry, how to purchase solar for your home or business, and legislative information (govt schemes, complaint, warranty info) for consumers
• Clean Energy Summit – a standalone website for the annual clean energy council event
Secondary CEC websites include
• Chinese language site
• Insulation installers site
• FPDI website aligned to a specific project the CEC previously completed
Evolution 7 Services that brought the project to life
The CEC project involved most of the team at Evolution 7; from digital strategy specialists to UX designers to front and backend developers. Skilled project managers worked with the client to set the project phases before managing them in bite-sized chunks known as epics.
Advanced and custom tracking, advanced SEO, SEO migration, user interviews, navigation testing, launch optimisation
UX workshops and design, information architecture, navigation, page layouts, branding, typography
CMS and site setup, global site components, filtering and search, interactive site features, Bizzabo Events integration, contact forms.
Overcoming challenges for instant results
Working in partnership with the CEC meant that Evolution 7 were focussed on business outcomes and audience needs throughout. The large scale project has been broken up into three phases; phase one is now live and phase two underway. So far the project has reaped benefits for both audience and business.
• Created a consolidated home for the CEC
• Users can easily navigate resources and news
• Users can discover and book events
• Potential members can learn about and apply for membership
• Increased awareness for advocacy and initiatives due to prominent positioning
• The site search is enhanced for better user experience
• Operationally, the new site is helping reduce the need for users to call the CEC
• The CEC team find Craft CMS superior to their previous CMS, Magnolia
Andreas Wenzel, Digital and Communications Manager, CEC commented about collaborating with Evolution 7,
Evolution 7 delivered an outstanding new website for the Clean Energy Council which took a complex architecture and made our information easily accessible, visually appealing and ultimately delivered a highly improved user experience. This has been a massive improvement for our business and audience.