Communications News: Site Visit -

British Red Cross sees its new website, relaunched in January, as a key part of its new brand identity. The charity hopes that a more accessible site will play an important part in its communications strategy.

The new, streamlined layout is both modern and professional, and good use of photography makes it a banner for the charity. The site is a reminder of the huge range of the charity's activities - the UK section alone lists first aid in the workplace, safety and volunteering.

Main pages

The layout is clean and well-organised. Visitors can explore a top-level set of features, rather than being directed unilaterally to a press release section. The overall effect is that users are in control. This was presumably part of the brief given to Baigent, the agency involved with the redesign.

One criticism is that the feel is very 'organisational'. It's competent, but could it benefit from more human interest? For instance, it's very difficult to find the name of anyone who works there.

Special features

A nice touch is a facility enabling you to receive localised information about, for example, your nearest branch, by entering your postcode. The use of 30-second downloadable video clips, to illustrate campaigns and give advice, is also effective.

British Red Cross says: "We wanted the new site to communicate our purpose and encourage people to get involved. The redesign gives us the chance to convert casual browsers into participants, with features such as the 'your area' search that puts UK users in touch with us, wherever they are."

Site Visit is by technology writer Gary Flood

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