Website design

Hillsborough Independent Panel

Our design for the large screen layout of the Hillsborough Independent Panel homepage.

Required Experience commissioned us to design the website for this highly sensitive report for the UK Home Office.

Between January 2011 and the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s highly sensitive report into the death of 96 Liverpool Football Club supporters at Hillsborough — in what is Britain’s worst sporting disaster — in September 2012, we worked with user-experience consultants Required Experience to design the website.

John Jones is the best user experience specialist we’ve ever worked with, bar none and by the time we started work, John had already amassed hundreds of hours writing user-stories and personas and developing wireframes that documented the site’s functionality. Like the best UX professional though, John made it clear that the creative direction was down to us.

Three pages that demonstrate how the website layout adapts to ensure content is comfortably readable across screen sizes and devices.


Work with Required Experience, The Home Office, the Hillsborough Independent Panel and other stakeholders. Design the site’s ‘atmosphere’ and responsive page layouts. Then develop responsive page templates plus a stylesheet toolkit for their developers to use while building the website.

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.

More pages to demonstrate the flexible presentation of content and functionality across the responsive design for the Hillsborough Independent Panel website.

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