Just Group is a FTSE-listed financial services organisation. They’re one of the fastest growing companies in the sector with over 1,100 colleagues and more than 650,000 customers, responsible for more than £23bn worth of their customers’ pension savings.
We love working with the Just team through every step of their digital transformation. We’re honoured to have helped them on their digital journey for a decade. With every innovation the goals and ambition for digital success grow.
The Just Group portfolio includes 15 distinct websites, each targeting different audiences with different goals. Keeping the stable up to date is a constant challenge. We’re always making updates so there were websites hosted on separate, outdated instances of the Optimizely platform, each utilising various templates and tools. This fragmentation posed considerable challenges in terms of development and maintenance, resulting in an unsatisfactory user experience (UX).
We advised Just Group to consolidate their website ecosystem into a unified and streamlined Optimizely solution. With an impending licence expiration deadline and as a customer-focused organisation, Just Group places a strong emphasis on user experience, making it imperative to prioritise both content and design within the solution. This was a great opportunity for the Ultimedia strategy team to suggest improvements and innovation to keep the websites ahead of the competition in a highly competitive digital marketplace.
The Ultimedia team worked closely with stakeholders to formulate an innovative list or requirements that included:
- Migrate all 15 websites onto a single Optimizely DXP instance
- Transform initial design ideas into a detailed wireframe and user interface, taking into account all existing templates and user journeys
- Elevate Just’s content marketing performance and online visibility
- Build out a roadmap of delivery including a full testing and deployment plan
- Meet a hard deadline of the old licence termination dates, which spanned only 6 months
- Work with multiple stakeholders to specify, build and test all areas
WHAT WE DID
Our timeline for innovation tackled the challenges associated with aligning all elements with the need to continue a rigorous ‘always on’ approach to content marketing. The codebase migration, and the new site designs had to be implemented without losing cadence so timing and attention to detail were critical. We also had to specify times for testing and content implementation to work with client resource plans.
- Audited the existing content of the four sites to capture what media and text needed to be migrated.
- Reviewed the existing source codebase to identify bespoke functionality that required replicating.
- Implemented the new redesigned Optimizely Page and Block Types, including the additional SEO and accessibility features, as well as adding the required bespoke functionality.
- Mapped the existing content onto the new redesigned content types, amending the copy where necessary to improve keyword targeting and updating the imagery to fit with the new design layouts.
- Worked with Optimizely and Just to migrate the DNS settings for all sites onto the new DXP environment and retire the redundant platform.
- Merge two separate Optimizely CMS 11 Codebases into a single DXP instance.
- Migrate four third-party-developed websites (payingforcare.org, hub-group.co.uk, workatjust.co.uk, justgetactive.co.uk) to Ultimedia’s DXP instance containing 11 other sites.
- These sites need to be migrated to the DXP instance managed by Ultimedia, which contains 11 other sites, including justadviser.com and pensionbuddy.co.uk.
- Develop using Microsoft .NET Framework 4.8, C#, HTML5, TypeScript and SASS.
- Implement a mobile-first responsive design for the migrated sites to ensure optimal user experience on various devices.
- Refactor the code to align with Optimizely’s recommended best-practice approach to enhance code efficiency and performance.
- Integrate the latest SEO and Accessibility capabilities into the sites to enhance visibility and inclusivity for a wider audience.
DESIGN AND BUILD
With critical analysis from some of the world’s leading Optimizely developers, Ultimedia were the perfect partner to identify improvements and enhancements to the existing code. We identified multiple efficiencies to improve performance and make future updates quicker and easier to implement. This inspection uncovered opportunities to refine the code, making it work faster, easier to understand, and more reliable.
To simplify website management and editing, we standardised and rationalised the Optimizely Page and Block Types. This optimisation made it more straightforward for editors to work with the content.
We assessed each new Optimizely Page and Block Type to identify the most suitable Schema Markup, such as FAQ, which would be automatically applied to these elements to improve SEO performance.
We integrated semantic HTML and ARIA accessibility attributes where suitable across all sections of the redesigned websites, with the aim of ensuring an optimal user experience for customers and new website visitors with visual impairments using screen readers.
TESTING AND DEPLOYMENT
Given Optimizely’s DXP is hosted on Microsoft Azure, the migrated sites took advantage of ‘Application Insights’ for performance and error monitoring. We leveraged a set of tools and practices to ensure best of class website quality and performance. Google Lighthouse assessed SEO factors, accessibility compliance, and adherence to best practice. ‘Zephyr Scale’ was used to track testing against user stories and acceptance criteria, providing crucial project metrics. We used ‘BrowserStack’ to ensure the websites’ compatibility across various devices, catering to diverse user experiences.
During User Acceptance Testing (UAT), we quickly identified and resolved visual or usability issues using BugHerd. Additionally, the websites seamlessly integrated into the Azure DevOps Code Repository and Deployment Pipeline. This allowed for parallel and isolated development, and we leveraged the Optimizely Deployment API for speedy and consistent releases.
This project was a huge success. The investment resulted in a substantial cost saving for future enhancements due to time savings. By ensuring that all the sites are on the same instance, with consistent templates we have seen support time reduced by 76%.
Just Group has achieved annual cost savings of over £50,000 by discontinuing the redundant DXP instance, significantly optimising Optimizely licensing and hosting expenses.
The project made multiple improvements to digital performance. In addition to this Just sites are seeing a significant increase in their visibility and rankings across Google SERPs, with ‘Work at Just’ job postings seeing a 1500% lift in daily impressions.
Now that the migration phase is successfully concluded, our next important step involves upgrading all sites from ‘Optimizely CMS11’ to ‘Optimizely CMS12’, embracing the full spectrum of new features introduced in this update. This transition marks a significant leap forward in maintaining a contemporary and adaptable digital presence, ensuring our websites remain equipped to meet evolving user expectations, incorporate cutting-edge functionalities, and remain competitive in an ever-changing online landscape. It underscores our dedication to continuous improvement and innovation in providing a dynamic and user-centric digital environment for Just Group.