The National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) is a UK Government agency that works with ambulance trusts to develop expertly trained and equipped ambulance responders to deal with hazardous situations, particularly mass casualty incidents that represent significant public health risks - including chemical, biological, terrorist threats.
The responsibility to prepare paramedic teams for such eventualities means they recently established their own state-of-the-art Education Centre, wherein emergency responders learn crucial, specialist skills via a number of tailored training courses. They needed a comprehensive Course Registration and Booking System that would be flexible to the needs of their audiences, but also simple for NARU Administrators to access and update.
With paramedics as the primary audience, who work irregular and demanding shifts, and are often on the move and seldom in front of a PC, an inherent challenge was to communicate up-to-date course information, both in terms of booking a course or learning about new modules. The need to reach these audiences effectively, wherever they may be, was both pressing and obvious.
How we Helped
We agreed a responsive web approach would fit the bill, to maximise the reach to remote and mobile users. In doing so, we recognised that by structuring the content and design the right way, the smartphone version in particular could function more like an application than a traditional website. There is genuine interaction; each user has their own editable profile, and the approvals process is a one-click process for the Administrators with an intuitive dashboard from which they approve or reject requests, add, amend or remove Courses in realtime, and notify users with automated detail-rich emails. Finally, we also incorporated payment functionality in the event that courses will be charged on a commercial or cost-centre basis in future.
It could be said we approached this site with arguably more consideration for the mobile version than the desktop (ie. almost taking a "mobile first" approach, which is the way the broader web is heading). Anyway, both work equally effectively for the consumer. From a client point of view, we built the site on a single CMS that enables the desktop/mobile version to be amended in one stroke. (Or to be more accurate, there is only actually one version - the desktop and mobile versions are one and the same.. that's the beauty of responsive web design).
How it's working
It's working a treat, one of our best performers. Course Bookings from mobile devices actually outnumber those from desktops, which we are thrilled about. The testimonial probably says it better than we could:
"We're delighted with the project that the guys at Tactile created. It actually feels more like an app, which we weren't really expecting but are delighted with. The candidates we've spoken to have all fed back that it's dead straightforward. From NARU's perspective we would say two things. First and foremost, course bookings are up overall. Secondly, but no less important, we have made huge cost savings - the site has taken so much of the administrative strain and general workload that administering the courses used to take, so we can devote more of our energies elsewhere."