National Safety Council

Nonprofit advocacy organization with large archive of online content

TUG didn’t just take the work away, bring it back finished, and then leave. They put tools in our hands and taught us how to help ourselves, to be self-sufficient.

—Linda Swift
Chief Information Officer, National Safety Council

Helping visitors find safety information

of respondents said the new site was better than expected
of users found the new site easy to use

Goal: Evaluate, propose and implement a new digital footprint

The mission of National Safety Council (NSC) is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes, and in communities. For over 100 years, NSC has conducted research, advocated for best practices, and provided education on safety. Their educational resources help businesses, government, and consumers be safe in everyday activities.

NSC had several public sites and portals with an immense amount of information but they knew their content was not as findable and usable as it should be. They also needed their website to balance education and advocacy with various commercial activities. NSC also wanted to empower their marketing team to publish relevant content directly to the site, without waiting for IT.

Our approach

NSC partnered with TUG to envision and implement a new digital place. NSC leadership wanted a unified and flexible website platform that would support learning, advocacy, and connections with the National Safety Council.

Programming: Our initial task was to evaluate the digital footprint of the National Safety Council and realign it with their long-term business objectives.

We sought to:

  1. Understand the business. We spoke with NSC leadership to understand the commercial and advocacy efforts as well as the history of the National Safety Council.
  2. Audit. We reviewed existing NSC digital properties, analytics, marketing, CRM, and business processes to inform strategy.

Analysis: TUG conducted more than 30 stakeholder and user interviews. User research themes emerged, including the need to:

  • Understand the value of NSC membership
  • Personalize to individual and company needs
  • Be a resource and partner
  • Speak to the users (aka “Person Like Me”), and understand their social needs and tendencies
  • Provide paths to development excellence
  • Simplify the experience

TUG created a high-level model of the information ecosystem, describing the flow of information and the interrelationships within the advocacy and commerce sections of NSC content.

NSC and TUG agreed that the project goal should be to help people go from passive to active engagement with safety: from nonmember to engaged member, from observer to valued contributor.

Synthesis: NSC knew they had a lot of content and people wanted a simple and personalized experience.

Our user research themes covered individuals focused on advocacy and commerce. TUG reflected their perspectives back to project stakeholders in the form of project personas.

We proposed a simplified website structure to reflect five key activities: Join, Learn, Measure, Act, and Connect. The key activities of advocacy and commerce would be integrated into content throughout the site, rather than separating them into separate tabs.

We have a lot of content and we want to keep everyone safe, but asking people to wade through everything wasn’t going to get it done. Development of personas focused us on who we can help and what they need from us.

—Linda Swift
CIO, National Safety Council

Specification: TUG provided NSC content staff with key principles of content strategy. Our partner, the Whole Brain Group, provided inbound marketing training.

TUG provided detailed website specifications. First, we created rough hand-drawn mockups on butcher paper for discussion. These were formalized in detailed wireframe specifications for thirty site pages.

Next, for flexible implementation of new content in their SharePoint content management system, TUG designed twelve content templates.

Built into the template structure is a macro content strategy representing business and advocacy goals:

  • “Business” content (in blue) is on the left.
  • “Advocacy” content (in purple) is on the right.
  • The grey is undesignated space.

NSC and TUG collaborated on two requests for proposal: one for visual design and one for implementation of the design and templates in SharePoint. TUG supported both Visual Hero, the design partner, and GDI Infotech, the development partner, through site implementation.

TUG coached us every step of the way to optimally present our content. They provided perspective and challenged us to think digitally to better engage our audiences.

—Lyn Corbett Fitzgerald
Brand Communications, National Safety Council


New site eases navigation and publishing process. NSC launched their new site in late 2014. In an external stakeholder survey of more than 800 users, 75% of respondents said the new site was better than expected. The most common descriptor was ease of navigation.

Previously, because the site was difficult to use, internal teams advocated for space in the top-level navigation for their resources to be found. Now that site visitors can find what they need more easily, pressure on the internal team to put everything on the homepage has decreased.

Additionally, the templates empowered NSC to keep the site fresh and meaningful while reducing IT’s day-to-day involvement in content publishing, a win for the members and the internal team.

Are you responsible for a membership-based educational website?

TUG can help restructure your site for your members and internal teams. Collaborate with us to envision and implement an improved site for all.