Delightful Ethical Digital
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Breaking Barriers

An accessible and welcoming digital space helping refugees find support

Read the case study

The challenge

Starting life only seven years ago, Breaking Barriers has grown into a national charity that has partnered with the likes of IKEA, Bank of America and WeWork to provide meaningful employment to refugees, as well as one-to-one advice and guidance, education, and training. 

Working across London, Birmingham and Manchester, the charity’s support services help refugees get into work no matter their experience or skill level through bespoke programs that encompass skills building and English language training to enable them with the best possible footing when arriving in the UK. 

The brief

With such rapid growth and increasing levels of support, the charity’s focus on impact meant that its brand and website had been neglected since its inception. As the organisation evolved, supporters, partners and research quickly outgrew the website. Those in need of support were struggling to access it quickly and easily while vital information was buried at the end of cumbersome user journeys.

After developing their new brand, we worked alongside Breaking Barriers to bring their audiences closer to their digital platform and worked together in creating the all-new website which provides the charity with a digital offering that helps refugees, instils confidence in potential partners and encourages donors to support their cause.

Homepage for Breaking Barriers on mobile and desktop
Translated page for Breaking Barriers on tablet
Impact landing page for Breaking Barriers
Accessible and welcoming pages are designed with refugees front and centre

The process

Central to Breaking Barriers are the people they support. When we first engaged in the project, we were motivated to make the website a success for those who needed it. Inspired by their stories and keen to understand their journey into work when they arrived in the UK, we conducted a number of interviews with real users. This included a number of activities such as tree testing to test the logic of proposed navigational choices. Users were set specific tasks to locate content within the structure and depending on choices, we validated or revised our decisions to ensure user data supported any changes.

We also had to ensure that the website appealed to the charity’s other primary audiences including its partner businesses that provide employment opportunities to service users, volunteers and donors as well as policy-makers and campaigners. Research into these audiences and their behaviour on the site contributed to an extensive research and discovery phase that influenced UX, design and content prioritisation.

Breaking Barriers homepage

The solution

The redesigned website, built on WordPress has accessibility and service delivery at its heart. The research concluded that most users in need of support do not speak English as their first language. Therefore, the most common languages among the charity’s audiences (Arabic, Tigrinya, Dari/Pashto, Farsi, Tigrinya) are easily identifiable on the homepage and work across the site. 

A softer design featuring the motif of curved corners signifies a change of direction and symbolises a hopeful path for refugees looking to live and work in the UK. These motifs also encourage users to journey through the site and explore its many features, such as a dedicated resource and research listing which houses the organisation’s sector-leading information and reporting, as well as a stories listing that highlights the impact Breaking Barriers is having on the refugees it supports.

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