A website in time for Christmas

Quick Results

About the Client

War Child UK is a charity that supports the future and wellbeing of children living through the damaging reality of some of the world's most dangerous war zones. Founded in 1993, the charity works with vulnerable children and communities in war torn areas; they provide safe spaces, access to education, skills training and much more, to ensure that children’s lives are not torn apart by war.

War Child UK is part of a War Child international, an organisation with offices all over the world protecting, educating, and empowering marginalised children.

Project Goals

The UK War Child team came to us with a mission: to get a new site live in time for Christmas. We calculated that after planning we could have one three-week sprint before we had to deploy to live.

The previous War Child UK site wasn’t responsive, so the charity was losing donation opportunities from supporters on mobile and tablet devices. They also wanted a bold new design, with a high focus on imagery, for the highest possible impact and to create empathy.

From a Content Management System (CMS) point of view, the client wanted to rationalise and consolidate content types, so the site could be easily managed without large overheads. Time counts when you’re saving the world, so the website needed to enable editors to get information and campaigns out quickly and easily, without a large website team or dependency upon external agents.


The original site also integrated with Stripe and Salesforce. The client wanted to ensure this functionality remained to provide a seamless experience for their donors, and reduce the need for internal training on the new site.

The final decision was to build and launch a Minimum Marketable Product (MMP) with donations, and a simplified CMS in a single three-week sprint. It had to be a polished product that would serve them during one of their busiest periods, without a loss of critical functions, such as donations. A MMP achieves the earliest possible route to market and therefore brings benefits sooner without cutting corners. With a tight deadline, this approach was right.

Smart Payment System

War Child rely on donations from their website, so a secure, reliable payment system was vital. We selected the use of a pre-existing module available in Drupal called Stripe to take payments. A Salesforce integration was also introduced to help manage and track donors. Using these modules allowed our developers to produce the necessary payment features for the website without much customisation. Using existing modules was essential to free up time to work on optimising these features and the design of the website.

warchild case study

Agile Development



Forward planning was key to delivering the project in just 3 weeks, so we began with an Acceptance Criteria. In this strategy we wrote out the conditions that the software must meet in order to be accepted by the client, users, or other stakeholders. They were written in non-technical terms, providing a single version of truth for the website. By ensuring the project was understood and signed off by the lead developer, the quality assurance team, and the client the project could go forward without hurdles.

The acceptance criteria, combined with the designs we optimised to meet Drupal best practice, meant we had a clear vision of what each piece of functionality should do and look like before we started work; and the client knew what to expect from our work before seeing it.

We started planning the next two sprints while development work was happening on the first sprint, so War Child’s stakeholders had continued visibility of what was future work was, and access to a backlog for long-term future planning.


Responsive Design

The site was developed responsively, incorporating the new design to meet the goal of optimising mobile donations. This is a given in today's online climate, but producing a responsive site at 3 breakpoints in just 3 weeks isn’t! The website's content was optimised to small screen sizes and given a clear hierarchy, to present the most relevant information to users first, optimising conversion rates.

Rationalised Content Management

The existing site had 25 content types. The client had expressed a desire to reduce the complexity of the back end of the site, for a simpler content management system for editors. There was limited scope within the project, but we were able to rationalise and streamline the site's existing content for a simple migration, and provide a simple content editing system for War Child's UK team.


Emotive Emphasis through the use of Images

Images are an essential method in conveying War Child's message, to create an emotionally-charged experience for users. The resulting design of the site was extremely image-heavy. Our front-end specialists optimised image sizes, video assets and Javascript performance across mobile, tablet, and desktop, allowing the site to load quickly and function well across all screen sizes.

CTI Digital were quick to respond to our brief and helped us to launch our MMP website before Christmas whilst also ensuring quality in the fast delivery process. We have had great feedback internally and have more flexibility to create the type of content we need with some great results to prove our decision of an MMP launch.

Dave O'Carroll, Head of Digital, War Child UK


War Child UK now has a mobile donation platform underpinned by a powerful Drupal CMS. Thanks to Drupal’s extensibility and our Agile process, we have since added a series of additional features, all aimed at setting War Child in a better place to help children in crisis. We have also been managing their online advertising

Thanks to the Mosul appeal; War Child have a team on the ground, right now, providing safe spaces and emergency care for 6,000 boys and girls who have fled the city.

The site launched just before Christmas 2016. In the past year the War Child UK site has seen a 96% Increase in conversion rate to donate. As a result, War Child has also experienced a brilliant 42% Increase in their online donations.