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information and support

Our journey towards a more personalised experience

Digital Project Manager, Ellie Donithorn, gives me the low down on Macmillan’s ongoing aim to give our users a more personalised website experience.

What’s new?
We have created an exciting new feature allowing users to find their nearest information and support centre. Here’s a quick how-to:

  • Step 1: Enter your postcode into the search box on the right-hand side of the page, or hit the ‘locate me’ arrow to let us find you.

Screenshot of new feature with the 'locate me' arrow circled for emphasis







  •  Step 2: View your nearest information and support centre, information about opening times, and other suggested centres within a 30-mile radius.

Screenshot of feature displaying your nearest information and support centre as well as those further out











  • Step 3: Click on your preferred centre to view its location on a map, opening times, and centre-specific contact details.

Snapshot of support centre page complete with map and additional contact details














And there’s more! If you have a My Macmillan account, you’re logged in and you’ve saved your postcode, our new function will remember this information and pull up that support centre automatically.

What was the problem before?
Our research showed us that a third of people are using their smartphone to access healthcare information. This means it’s more important than ever for us to provide users with an online experience that gives quick and comprehensive results on the go.

We identified that the process of finding your nearest support centre on the Macmillan website was unnecessarily lengthy. It was taking around five clicks for our users to find the information most relevant to them, so we decided this was something that needed to be addressed.

How will we track its success?
We won’t know whether or not this feature is useful to our users straight away. We’ll be tracking the number of people that click on the name of the centre as well as on the link that takes you to any of the suggested support centres. This will give us an indication of engagement with the new feature, so that we can decide whether or not this is the kind of functionality that enhances user experience.

Can we learn from any obstacles that occurred?
Every project has its obstacles. This new feature needed to be low risk in terms of minimum disruption to our existing web templates. Currently this feature sits on very few pages and it would be great if it was visible across a larger number. However, this is very likely once we get a feel for how helpful our users find it.

What inspired this project?
Personalisation is such a hot topic in the wider digital world, so we want to make sure we’re doing as much as possible to address it at Macmillan. We drew inspiration from websites like Amazon and Netflix, for which personalisation is key. Even the ability to log in and revisit your last interactions, or have your last order (of information booklets perhaps) automatically compiled, would be a great future venture. Just Eat is a website that people may be familiar with that does this very well!

What’s next?
We’re working on further enhancements of this feature, which will mean that we can make the information users want from the Macmillan site even more relevant to their needs. For example, displaying support centres that are ‘cancer-type specific’ and thus, most relevant to the user. And in our volunteering section of the website, we plan to show our users the volunteering opportunities that are most local to them.

It’s about creating a bespoke experience that prioritises information according to the user’s needs and interests. And this is step one of greater things to come from Macmillan.


Questions about this post? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @mac_digital. We’d love to hear from you!

Thumbs up and thumbs down - pros and cons of introducing long copy to social media

Long copy takes to social

Digital Editor Hamilton Jones sheds light on the introduction of long copy on social channels, weighing up the pros and cons for the Macmillan website.

Since the rise of social media, people have been accessing information online in a completely different way. Driven by short character limits and even shorter attention spans, social media’s fast paced nature has traditionally seen it play a very separate role to that of the website. But that could be about to change.

The past weeks have seen announcements from two major social networks that indicate a move towards long copy on their platforms. Twitter is looking at lifting the 140 character limit across their whole platform, having recently done so for their direct messaging service, while Facebook’s in-built publishing tool, Instant Articles, is currently being tested by major brands worldwide.

The move by both parties invites brands to expand their social presence by sharing much longer pieces of content, content that perhaps would usually have appeared exclusively on their website. The impact this is likely to have could result in digital editorial and social media teams working much more closely to create cross-platform content.

At Macmillan, the Information and Support section of our website contains thousands of invaluable long copy pages for both generic and cancer specific information. By using tools like Instant Articles, we may have the opportunity to share some of this information across our social networks, helping us to reach more people affected by cancer than ever before.

While this may sound like a fantastic opportunity, sharing some of our long copy on social media has its downsides too. By creating a hub of all of our content on our social networks, we are taking users away from our website. While having more traffic on our social platform is a good thing, it also means we do not have as much control over how we interact with and reach our audience. By driving users to our own website we have the opportunity to capture better data and provide them with a more personalised experience.

So what does this mean for Macmillan? Well, watch this space! Over the next few months as these changes roll out across Twitter and Facebook, and perhaps more widely across all social channels, it will be interesting to see how we, as a digital team, adapt to and embrace these changes.

Thoughts on this?
Tweet us @mac_digital or leave a comment below!

Someone uses our new website on a tablet with the words Our website is changing above

Macmillan.org.uk has had a makeover

The new home page and information and support section of the Macmillan website are now live, the latest section of the website redesign project to launch.

It’s been available for the last month alongside the old cancer information and how we can help sections of the site, but last week we switched over to the new version.

You can see all of the new content on smartphones and tablets as well as desktops. And there is a new header across the whole site. This offers people new ways into our information by selecting why they are visiting the site ‘How can we help you today?’ and seeing tailored content as a result.

Audience selector
Alongside this, we’ve updated My Macmillan. My Macmillan is a gateway to be.Macmillan and our Online Community whereby you can access both sites using one log in. It now has a new ‘save page’ functionality, which means users can save their favourite pages on a new ‘listing page’. To access My Macmillan head to the top right of any page of our website.My Macmillan
The website redesign is an ongoing project and we’ll be moving onto the next section shortly (when we’ve caught our breath again!) You’ll notice some differences between some of our web sections, but please know that we’re working on it. If you notice any problems with the website whilst it’s bedding in then please contact us to let us know.

We’d love it if you could have a look and share your feedback with us. Either by emailing websiteredesign@macmillan.org.uk or completing this short survey.

If you’ve got any questions about the changes you might find these FAQs helpful.



beta launch

We have just launched the new information and support section of our website in beta. The new section replaces our existing Cancer Information and How we can help sections.

We wanted to give you a preview before we launch officially to see if you have any feedback for us. If you have time, we’d love to get your feedback by emailing websiteredesign@macmillan.org.uk  You can access it on your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.

As it’s a preview, it doesn’t have information on all the cancer types – select lymphoma to get an idea of what a cancer type section will look like. Where content is not yet complete, we’ve included a link back to our current site.

Looking at the site now, you can see what a huge step we’re taking in many areas with the new designs, system and digital information content. We are in beta, which means that the old and new content are running alongside one another simultaneously. This will allow us to test the new section fully before swapping it for the old Cancer Information and How we can help sections. You can find out more about why we’re beta-ing.

Read our frequently asked questions about changes to the website.

We know there is still lots to do, but hopefully you can really see the potential to build this into something that delivers a great Macmillan digital experience – it is really exciting to see it live.

We’ll be making more changes before we release it fully, so your thoughts and comments are really important. Thank you.

Person browsing our new information and support section on a tablet

Website redesign: Information and support

The all new information and support section of our website is almost complete and we’re getting ready to share it with you soon.

The area will replace our existing cancer information and how we can help sections. It has been completely redesigned based on detailed research and ongoing testing with people who use our website. We’ve made it easier for people to find the information and support they need by structuring it more intuitively and making it easier to filter content. There’s more of a focus on the experiences of real people via quotes, case studies and video content. It will also look different – the page designs are more vibrant and are practical to use. And it will be optimised for phones, tablets and desktop computers, so visitors to our site will have a great experience however they’re accessing it.

We’re also updating our website homepage to reflect our refreshed brand identity and the new navigation.

This update is part of a wider project to completely redesign our main website, macmillan.org.uk.

While the information and support section is the current priority, the Digital team is already working on the rest of the site by gathering and validating requirements for outstanding areas like Volunteering, Campaigns and About Us.

Our tweets