Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Planning a new site for the UK's leading organisation for paediatricians and child health.

User research User experience


Royal College for Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) are the premier training and accreditation body for paediatricians and child health practitioners in the UK.


The challenge was to re-develop the RCPCH’s website, improving every aspect of it, from updating the content to re-platforming on a modern CMS. Content was hard to find, the site wasn’t optimised for mobile, and editors found it difficult to use.


RCPCH is a large organisation, with many different stakeholders, interal teams and user groups who each rely on the site in different ways. It was essential that our solution would work for each of these groups, as well as being technically sound and attractively designed.

User research

In order to understand the site’s users and their needs, I conducted an extensive series of interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, including internal teams, paediatricians, parents, young people and more.

From these interviews, we developed hundreds of user stories, which in a series of workshops held with each department, we grouped into epics and ranked them by importance. These formed the site’s core user journeys and had a direct impact on the content strategy and information architecture.

Content strategy

The old site had over five thousand pages of content plus many more PDFs, from clinical guidelines, to research papers, to articles and advice guides. Each one would need migrating manually as it was too complex to automate.

To facilitate this, I completed a full content audit, indexing each piece of content and cross-referencing it against traffic stats for the last year. Any page with five or less views I marked as a potential candidate for deletion. And, working with the RCPCH web team, we determined which content could be transferred directly or needed to be re-written. Each team was responsible for their own content, so the decision to delete or re-write content was quite politically sensitive.

With a full understanding of the content, I created a set of content types and templates. The old site only had one content type – the page – which meant it was being used for many different things with no consistent structure.

↑ Example content type definitions, showing permissions, fields and taxonomies.

Content types are defined by the purpose of each piece of content, for example an article content type may have tag and author field whereas an event may have date and location fields.

I also needed to create a new taxonomy structure to categorise content. Combined with content types, this would be used to sort and view content in various ways – for example to show related articles on a certain topic.

Information architecture

Based on the content strategy and the user stories outcomes of the user interviews and the content strategy, I created a site map that showed where the new content types would fit into the site structure. Then, working with the development team, I developed a series of process and entity relationship diagrams, detailing key pieces of functionality and how the site would interact with outside systems.

↑ Sitemap showing page hierarchy and content types.

Wireframing & prototyping

From this, I was able to create a set of pixel-perfect mobile-first, responsive wireframes, covering page hierarchy, content types, listings, challenging functionality, such as search, and key landing pages.

↑ Homepage and user dashboard.

These wireframes formed the blueprints of the site that the developers used to build the site from, so they had to be completely accurate in how they described the site features and functionality.

↑ Example content type and topic hub.

User testing

To ensure – and to prove – the new site would be easier to use than the old one, I ran a series of user tests:

  • I used tree testing to validate the new map. By clicking through the menu structure could users find the content they were looking for?
  • Using first-click testing I tested page features. Could people find calls to action or particular options on pages?

The final deliverable from the entire UX process was a document containing detailed information about every aspect of the new site, including content types, fields, taxonomy, user roles and permissions, user flows, entity relationships, data security and more.

Handover and development

Once the client had signed off the UX, I worked closely with the design team to complete the visual design, using an atomic, component-based approach, and the development team to implement the plans correctly.

Once development was complete, RCPCH had the substantial task of publishing their content into the new site. We trained a representative from each team on the CMS, every team being responsible for re-writing and publishing their own content. This took at least a year to complete as there was so much to do.


The project took over three years, from pitch to launch. The UX phase took about nine months and the site was launched in March 2018.

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