CIPD website

Information architecture | webpage content design | website content strategy

A corporate website, transformed.

With absolute focus on the business value as well as the customer needs of good content, Joe helped us to wrestle sense and structure into our new website.

His content strategy vision continues to guide our governance and improvement efforts to this day.

— Sarah Corney

Head of Customer Experience, CIPD


CIPD, the UK professional body for HR and professional development, was planning to migrate its existing corporate website to a new CMS platform (Tridion).

The existing website had a content problem. Over the years, the site had ballooned into an unwieldy sea of information — to the detriment of clarity and usability.

CIPD website 2015

Ye olde site web site of the CIPD, circa 2015


If the new site was going to put its best foot forward and represent a true step-change in user experience quality, the organisation knew it needed to think bigger than a content ‘lift-and-shift’ job.

A new website was an opportunity to bring digital CIPD’s digital presence into closer alignment with its business goals and user needs.

The new site needed to do a better job of engaging new audiences in HR and L&D career paths, attracting and retaining membership commitments, and consolidating CIPD’s public reputation as a thought leader, industry standard setter, and trusted guidance publisher.

A well-researched, customer-centric content strategy could make these sorts of aspirations possible.

This was my brief. Basically.



  • Carry out a thorough content audit and discovery phase, to identify, diagnose and align over critical content issues and opportunities that were going to be addressed as part of the website redevelopment project.


  • Based on key insights from the discovery, develop a coherent and actionable website content strategy that outlined priority recommendations across editorial strategy, content design, CMS development, information architecture design, and content governance for the new site.


Content audit and discovery phase


  • Content audit: involved a combination of quantitative inventory and qualitative evaluation of existing website assets, assessing content for topic, purpose, target audience, usability and SEO best practices.


  • User research: included a top task analysis survey to identify the top reasons for visiting the CIPD site.


  • Stakeholder engagement: spoke with key content contributors and influencers to understand existing pain points, observations, and suggested priorities for the new site.



Welcome to my world… a spreadsheet-y world.


I presented a content strategy discovery report to senior leadership. Key observations and recommendations included:

  • The existing site had too many different content types (particularly its resources section), which weren’t organised according to topics and tasks.


  •  The site’s information architecture — its primary content groupings, menus, and labeling — was too sprawling, making navigation and browsing difficult.


  • The site had volume and quality gaps in content in support of its membership and career development offers — key pillars of the organisation’s strategy.


The content discovery report.


Content strategy development


A new website content strategy focussed on four goals and work areas:

  • Make it easier for users to find and understand content — by re-developing the new website IA around logical, topic-based information groupings that align with the distinct informational needs of various user types.


  • Deliver a better online membership customer experience — by re-designing membership website content to align with customer persona-specific messaging, calls to action, and journeys.


  • Use content to attract and engage more students to the HR and L&D profession — by creating a new careers section of the site, providing online information and editorial aimed at students, recent graduates and career movers.


  • Initiate and lead the online conversation on the changing world of work and the workplace — by creating and curating latest organisational news stories, expert research and opinion within a more cohesive and engaging section of the site.


Core content strategy materials development.


Content strategy work plan and roadmap.


Information architecture


New information architecture early ideation and concepts.


Final IA validation: tree testing user research and analysis.


Final IA solution proposed for build.

New knowledge base: content planning and UX design


Resources section content planning.


New knowledge base: content and UX design ideation.


Membership content optimisation: planning and prioritisation


Membership content planning.

Membership content planning continued.



Careers section: content planning and UX design


Careers section content planning and prioritisation.


Careers section IA and content strategy principles.


Early wireframe concepts for new careers section (Balsamiq)


Early wireframe concepts for careers section.



Primary nav menu reduced from 11 to 6 items and more reflective of key user tasks —greatly improving UX of navigation and browse.



Resources section rebranded to topic and task-driven Knowledge Hub area — resulting in vast improvements to engagement and navigation.



A re-imagined membership user experience resulted in significant uplift to new member enquiries and online conversions.


An all-new careers section added a new dimension to the site’s customer proposition, filling a major gap in user needs


Interested in working together?

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