The C40 Cities Finance Facility is a joint initiative of C40 and GIZ to address climate change in cities. The newly launched website helps to facilitate member cities’ access to financial aid to fund technical assistance for more sustainable living.
After 10 months of being temporarily hosted on C40's website, CFF wanted its own website—the goal of which was to communicate the full scope of its offerings to cities, partners, funders, and the general public. The end objective? Promoting sustainable, resilient and inclusive urban development while allowing potential partner cities to easily apply for funding.
Diverse Audience, Different Paths
In order to create a website that could effectively and efficiently communicate CFF's goals while providing a seamless experience, we had to present clear information about what CFF does as an organization, and provide an easy, guided-funding application process to its users.
A challenge we faced was that potential users arriving on the site may not immediately understand what the organization is about and what the website offers. Because of CFF's diverse audience, the site needed to cater to all of its user's needs. A busy city official applying for project financing or a policy-maker seeking to learn from other cities’ climate change projects may not easily find what they’re looking for. We also worried that some users may be overloaded with information or, due to buried content and resources, be underwhelmed with the seeming lack thereof. Additionally, people seeking funding would have to answer CFF’s application forms with complex questions that could produce insubstantial responses.
CFF’s lean team meant that the website would only be updated by a single editor. Its sustainable solutions for cities worldwide had to be presented effectively at first blush. Important materials had to be surfaced and not get lost in the potentially complex information architecture. The complex application process and the lack of manpower could've all led to decreased engagement.
The need to have an efficient CMS for editorial flexibility was a must.
To anticipate and respond to multiple contexts, Code and Theory utilized a responsive design and provided intuitive tools that addressed and anticipated different user needs, transactions, and touch-points. To facilitate access to the breadth and depth of information CFF has to offer, the new website was specifically designed for discovery. Through a modular approach, the site empowered content managers in publishing and prioritizing content. To drive streamlined and consistent exploration, the site was also designed with a simplified site structure and organized content.
Faster and Focused Processes
To guide audiences applying for funding, we crafted the website with features that quickly moved users through the different processes without putting a heavy cognitive burden on them.
CFF had no existing analytics data. We saw this as an opportunity to develop tools that could anticipate user needs and learn more about their behavior. Hence, the creation of the Global Quick Start. The Global Quick Start works as a submission form with a set of filter inputs that gives the user an overview of the website’s offerings. We also created a step-by-step application form with focused individual questions, aiming to make the whole process as easy and smooth as possible.
Editorial flexibility is key. To respond to the challenges around CFF’s lack of editorial manpower, we created a flexible and custom CMS with easy and efficient tools to make the editor’s job effortless. The new CMS requires little to no training to update. We also created a diverse set of modules that cater to different types of content. This allows editors to easily tell a more solid story around their organization’s mission and values. Through these features, the editorial team, whether that’s an individual or a handful of people, gain more control in publishing content.
Simplified Site Structure & Enhanced Taxonomy
To augment discovery and drive streamlined, consistent exploration, the new website is designed with a simple structure and information architecture to help users find the content they need. Working with CFF’s knowledge manager, we reviewed, reorganized, and categorized the list of CFF’s knowledge documents. Enhanced taxonomy and controlled vocabulary for the knowledge library empowered search, informed the navigation, and ensured that the user is taken to the content they need.
A New Beginning
The new CFF website launched and began accepting applications in January 2018.