Diversity & Inclusion Project with Imperial College London

POLARIS have recently started working with the UK charity, 2eMPower on a website migration project. In the first of a series of blogs, POLARIS Account Manager, Doug Storer discusses the process for starting this project and why working with 2eMPower is such an exciting project.

2eMPower is one of the leading children’s charities for helping twice exceptional (*2e) young people, aged 11-17 get into STEM. *2e students are those that have neurodiverse learning needs, including dyslexia, developmental conditions such as autism, or attention and behaviour difficulties like ADHD.

Started by Professor Sara Rankin from Imperial College London and Doctor Susen Smith of UNSW, 2eMPower runs events, courses and workshops that help *2e students gain a passion and excitement for STEM; the study of Science, technology, engineering and mathematics. They guide these students and help them undertake degrees in one of the above fields and go on to become valued members of the STEM workforce.

As a world-renowned expert in stem cell biology, Sara Rankin was born with dyslexia, making it difficult for her to read and write. Despite this, she obtained a first-class Hons Degree and PHD in Pharmacology from Kings College London. She is now Professor of Leukocyte and Stem Cell Biology at Imperial College London.

What’s the background to this project?

Sara approached POLARIS for this project because the current 2eMPower website hasn’t been updated for almost five years. It’s look and feel is dated, the functionality is slow, and it’s not optimised to make it easily accessible for people with disabilities to use.

Sara wanted to completely redesign and refresh the website, making it easier for their target users to navigate the content on the site, find relevant information about what the charity does, help support the charity, and book places for any upcoming courses and events.

Alongside the overall design elements, 2eMPower want to increase the online visibility of the charity. As will all charities, they rely on financial support, but not only that, 2eMPower rely on prominent scientists or engineers to volunteer their time to run the courses themselves. To do this one of the key objectives of the project overall is to maximise the visibility of the charity and what they’re trying to achieve.

What makes this project so exciting?

As the project lead at POLARIS, working with 2eMPower represented an exciting opportunity for me to get involved in something a little bit different to our usual day to business. In my personal life, I know several people that are neurodiverse to varying degrees, so being able to work with a charity that actively supports young people achieve their potential, regardless of the challenges they face was an opportunity I couldn’t wait to be a part of.

At POLARIS, when working on any project, we like to take a people-focused approach. From building partnerships with our clients to understanding the needs of the end user, we believe that by being human and practical with our approach we can help generate results. In the case of 2eMPower, this is particularly true. People are at the heart of what they do.

To succeed as an altruistic organisation, 2eMPower need to be able to tell the stories of the amazing work they do for *2e young people. How they help change the lives of people that may not otherwise have had the chance to get involved in STEM, and in turn help inspire people to get involved themselves. Whether that is as a potential student, a parent, a teacher, a benefactor, or supporter. This is what makes this project so exciting for us at POLARIS. We can help 2eMPower to tell these stories and raise awareness of this brilliant charity and the fantastic work they do.

At POLARIS, we believe that because of the impact this charity will have on the lives of neurodiverse young people, we’re prepared to offer our own personal time to getting this project completed and not pass any associated costs onto 2eMPower. This means they can spend as much of their fundraising as possible on the events and courses.

What progress has been made so far?

Although it’s early days, we’ve already made some great progress on the project. Our initial scoping sessions with Sara have been very productive and we’ve identified several key factors, such as target audiences, competitor sets and overall priorities for the new site. We’ve also conducted an initial wireframing exercise to get some ideas together of the potential layout of the new site and how it can be utilised to highlight key areas of focus for 2eMPower.

We’ve also begun the initial design phase of the project. Our design team are working on building out a series of functional concept designs for Sara to review. Personally, this phase is always one of my favourite parts of any website project. It’s the moment a client first gets to visualise what their website is eventually going to look like and see the moment it all becomes real to them.

Watch this space.

If you’re thinking about conducting a website migration, our Website Migration Guide contains some useful information about the common challenges you’ll face. Or if you want to talk to POLARIS about how we could help with your website migration, why not get in touch.

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