Original Shrewsbury

Helping visitors discover one of the UK’s most unique historical towns

Original Shrewsbury Website Homepage
Original Shrewsbury

There can't be many towns with 660 listed buildings, a museum in an old music hall and carved characters peering down at you from a 1500's building. A place with 921 years of wine buffs, and where Charles Darwin was born and lived. Shrewsbury is full of higgledy-piggledy streets with names you want to say out loud. A river that scoops up the town in a loop. A mix of the very old and the very new. The quirky and the one-off.

So, you can imagine our excitement at Wired Canvas HQ when we were invited to help relaunch Original Shrewsbury, the official visitor website.

#1
Google result for ‘Shrewsbury’
235,000
annual web visitors
+49.7%
increase in page views
+41%
increase in organic search traffic

The Brief

Original Shrewsbury invited us to help them re-develop their website, replacing the existing site with a new and improved version. They wanted to capture the essence of Shrewsbury, highlighting the history and character of each local business and the many, many things that make Shrewsbury so unique.

The Goals

Many independent businesses use their Original Shrewsbury listing as their primary online presence. These businesses have a hugely diverse variety of complex information which needed to be displayed clearly and consistently - and optimised for search engines. A vital goal was to increase traffic to the site, and allow users to find information more quickly.

Research and Discovery

We undertook a highly detailed research phase, which included plotting user journeys and creating user personas based on audience research. We developed complex sitemaps and planned the information architecture.

The wireframing process started as very rough sketches on huge sheets of paper in a workshop with the Shrewsbury BID team, and iterated into detailed prototypes. We then created high fidelity prototypes using the Original Shrewsbury brand guidelines.

Our approach

We dramatically simplified the user experience, focusing on improving core features and navigation. We also completely redesigned the interface, applying the existing brand guidelines in a fresh way. We wanted it to feel recognisably ‘Shrewsbury’, and capture the unique quirky style of the town.

We introduced new features such as drop-down filters on the homepage to help users find content, and an interactive map that is filterable by the user’s needs. The new site is very visual and impactful, with large images and videos, and round-up blogs that frame Shrewsbury from different angles (eg. ‘Shrewsbury on foot’ or ‘Ghost hunting in Shrewsbury’).

Validation & Testing

Wireframes and prototypes were tested and refined with Original Shrewsbury staff, users and stakeholders. We rolled out new features in stages, allowing time to monitor real user interactions through analytics and website logs, and refine where necessary.

During the beta stage, we invited website visitors to fill out an online feedback form. The questionnaire provided us with valuable real-time feedback from real users.

The Results

The new Original Shrewsbury website resulted in a powerful, effective website that is now the #1 Google search result globally for ‘Shrewsbury’. Organic search traffic has increased by 41% and the bounce rate fell by 16%. Page views increased by 49.76%.

More importantly, the new site provides a robust and flexible platform for Original Shrewsbury to grow and evolve in future. The site is designed to allow for new features and functionality in future.

In October 2018, Shrewsbury BID had their ballot review and received 88% votes in favour of renewal from members; a clear signal that local business owners are feeling the benefits from the new Original Shrewsbury website.

Original Shrewsbury Website Homepage - Desktop view
Original Shrewsbury Website Homepage - mobile view
Original Shrewsbury Square Graphic