We extended John’s personas to include the websites that each person might regularly visit. These included the BBC, Guardian, LinkedIn and even Facebook. Unlike the websites we’d seen for other Home Office reports and inquiries, we wanted to design a site that each of the users in the stories would find visually appealing and most importantly easy to read.
We also needed to take the needs of the various groups of interested parties into consideration, including the Home Office itself, South Yorkshire Police and Ambulance Service and most importantly members of the families of those killed or injured. That was a design challenge unlike almost any other we’ve faced.
The information on the Hillsborough Independent Panel website is designed to be read. Although the design brief specified we use only Helvetica and Arial, we set our minds to making the site’s typography legible and readable. We were also limited in our use of colour as both red and blue were forbidden. Red — the colour of Liverpool Football Club — was unacceptable to the Police. Blue was also to be avoided as it suggested ‘authority’ and the ‘establishment.’ We decided on the site’s purple colour after a long period of consultation with all the concerned parties.
Normally when we write about a design, we say how fun the project was to work on and how much we enjoyed the process, but we can’t say that about this project. What we can say is how grateful we are to John and everyone we met from the Home Office and the panel for the opportunity to work on something of such significance. We hope that in some small way, we made a difference.