National Grid ESO
The organization wanted its new website to provide a consistent, personalized user experience that made doing business with the ESO more initiative and user-friendly.
National Grid ESO's previous website desperately needed a revamp to effectively serve its diverse user audiences.
Drupal, Acquia Cloud Platform, Acquia Code Studio
National Grid’s new digital engagement platform delivered numerous UX and technical benefits, including improved Google Lighthouse scores with 100 out of a possible 100 points for accessibility and best practices.
As the electricity system operator (ESO) for Great Britain, National Grid ESO sits at the heart of the nation’s energy system, running electricity networks safely and efficiently, minute by minute, hour by hour, 365 days a year.
As National Grid ESO takes on an ever greater role at the heart of the UK transition to a net-zero energy system, it's more important than ever that the public can easily engage and interact with the organization. With that in mind, National Grid's goal was to provide a separate digital presence for the ESO, giving users a single access point to ESO content, data, and external-facing processes.
The organization hoped that the revamped digital presence would make the experience of doing business with the ESO more intuitive and user-friendly by providing a consistent and personalized user experience — and that by removing friction and enhancing engagement, the organization would drive greater market participation and innovation.
National Grid's previous website had grown organically over several years, and its content and navigation required a revamp. In addition, the diverse range of users of the platform (energy market participants, regulators, innovators, investors, academics, and the general public) meant that the company needed to identify a design and content approach that could adapt to the different audience's needs. The key user needs they identified included:
- A consistent user experience across all interactions with ESO
- A single login to all interactions with ESO
- The ability to find and access ESO content, data, and advice in a variety of forms
- The ability to engage and interact with ESO, not just consumer static information
- An active, guided experience that enables efficient completion of tasks
- The ability to consume and interact with ESO services in a variety of channels, including via APIs
National Grid ESO partnered with Capgemini, and the teams kicked off the project’s discovery phase to establish the basis for the minimum viable product (MVP), conducted user research and testing, and explored areas of technical risk and complexity. Working together, the discovery process gave the teams enough confidence in the direction to start development without having answers to all of the outstanding questions.
Next, the teams worked through the prioritized backlog toward the MVP, adjusting priorities based on user research and delivery progress. Early in 2023, the teams began incremental content migration and user acceptance, paving the path for the first release.
The teams' performance and security reviews reassured them that the platform would meet the required stability, trust, and resilience levels. And Capgemini trained content editors across the ESO, ensuring they were familiar with the new ways of working and workflows before launch.
The teams completed the first MVP in March 2023, successfully meeting the commitment set with the regulator. Since then, the teams have deployed three additional releases, each incrementally adding new functionality to the platform, including enhancements to content management tooling, improvement to the UI, and new user functionality.
Together, the teams developed, maintained, and refined an ongoing product roadmap that facilitates business agility by allowing National Grid to prioritize features and functionality.
National Grid’s new digital engagement platform delivered:
- An independent ESO platform, design system, and interface look and feel, with an updated design pattern library based on the carbon design system
- A new CMS to facilitate effective website administration and content governance, supporting ESO digital experience and content strategy
- Improved web navigation and content discoverability
- High-level information architecture improvements — visual hierarchy and signposting — to support and streamline user experience
- Incremental experience improvements to features such as interactive maps and event
- A calendar that is more user-friendly, discoverable, and accessible
- Improved content search and filtering through enhanced on-site search functionality so users can more easily find what they are looking for
- New content supporting key user journeys, with content optimization to help providers easily understand their opportunities to work with the ESO
In addition, the new platform delivered several technical benefits:
- Improved Google Lighthouse scores, including 100/100 for accessibility and best practices
- Sustainability improvements as reflected in reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per page view (from 0.65g CO2 per homepage visit to 0.18g of CO2, as tested by websitecarbon.com)