The Royal College of Occupational
Therapists central authority website

Quick Results

About the Client

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists is the largest body of occupational therapists in the UK with over 32,000 members and 14,000 website users. They promote the values and benefits of occupational therapy to the public, service commissioners and political representatives.

Their website acts as an essential hub for access to professional information. There is public access to vital service information specifically for young people, physically and mentally disabled, and older people. Members of RCOT can also find additional medical documentation and the latest research.

Project Goals

RCOT sets professional standards, provides support, and promotes and protects the interests of occupational therapists among policy makers and commissioners.

Digital was identified by stakeholders as key to meeting the needs of their diverse membership. Their members site delivered occasional progressive service improvements, but RCOT were looking to partner with an agency to deliver a more comprehensive redevelopment programme.

The client was looking to build on its current successes to deliver a personalised service to members by utilising their CRM (customer relationship management) data. They also looked to support their strategic ambitions by delivering their products and services more effectively to the needs of all of their stakeholder groups. Through a clear understanding of these needs, we were able to define a vision for RCOT's digital future, and shape a roadmap of digital products and services.

Stakeholders recognised the importance of delivering their content across all devices. The legacy website wasn’t responsive, therefore members couldn't use it on the move or at home. Users also were unable to use the navigation efficiently during consultations due to the extremely large volume of content available. The development of a new website build on a user centered design was felt essential to create the best online experience.

update rcot mockup

Intuitive User Experience
On Mobile Devices

The use of RCOT's site isn’t desk bound, the site is accessed daily by a high proportion of mobile devices, meaning that mobile functionality was an essential development point for the project. This development point was also supported by Google’s mobile first update which rewards sites for having a great mobile experience. Fast page load times and content relevant to the search term of the visitor all work in the sites SEO favour.

By considering devices with the smallest screen size first were able to establish a content hierarchy. This principle was passed from smartphone to tablet and desktop interfaces. Meaning that users of all screen sizes, big or small, have benefited from this approach.

By being responsive to mobiles and tablets the site is more accessible throughout the user's day, and by all kinds of users who may need to use tablets for accessibility reasons. The site was also made to be light and small allowing for fast loading even in areas of low connectivity.

Agile Development
and Atomic Design



The team used Agile project management methodology, which allowed them to continuously incorporate feedback and deliver the 18-month project on-time, on-budget, and without major problems.

During the design process, CTI utilised Atomic Design principles, which are ideally suited to achieve consistent design patterns on large and complex web sites. We continually worked with the third-party agency in charge of visual design, collaborating together to refine the design and seeking their output. Using Drupal’s extensible architecture and comprehensive automated testing ensured we maintained quality, and we used Drupal’s mobile-first functionality to build a fully responsive website.

Enhancing the Member Experience

One of the principle objectives of the project was to integrate RCOT’s existing CRM platform into the new mobile responsive website. Allowing members to more conveniently manage their profiles and subscriptions, we significantly improved the effectivity of the membership administration team and enhanced the membership experience.

The user experience within the member profiles section was also optimised to present the feature most valued by users to the forefront of their view. Members can now update their details quickly and simply. This was essential for all members, including their student users who often have to change their home address. Users can also apply for parental leave and have access to an administration team to ensure logging on is as easy as possible.



Content Streamlining

The site contained hundreds of pages, many that were viewed infrequently. After defining RCOT's target persons it was possible to migrate only relevant user-centered content to the new website.

Old content was either retained if it was found to be useful and visited regularly; refined if the content needed updating to be more accessible to site users, or retired if it was the result of a duplicated effort or hadn’t been visited for a large amount of time.

A User-centred Approach to Create a User-centred Design

A user centric approach is woven into every step of our delivery. We could see that with such vast library of resources it is vital visitors can reach content quickly time and time again, so we involved stakeholders to create a navigation centered on the users. The client was especially pleased with the outcomes of our stakeholder forum midway through development. We invited opinion leaders within RCOT to for a day comprising a preview of the site, opportunity to take part in user testing and provide valuable feedback.

Engaging with end users enhances the likelihood of project success by identifying opportunities for improvement, and additional features early on. These processes ultimately contributed to a navigational structure we had confidence would help site visitors reach their desired content swiftly and ultimately reduce bounce rates.

Building Brand Reputation
Through Consistency

RCOT represents Occupational Therapists all over the country and wanted their branding to project themselves as a leading edge modern organisation and digital leader whilst presenting ‘One voice’ through their content. We implemented reusable components into their content management system to allow content editors to upload and edit content whilst effortlessly sticking to structural and stylised guidelines. This allows content to look professional and consistent whilst reducing barriers to market leading to more frequent and flexible publishing.

Localised Advertising Modules

RCOT wanted an advertising function on their website. Available solutions did not provide sufficient control over content which raised concerns over brand security.

We developed an self managed advertising platform for RCOT to provide them with the necessary control required and a potential secondary revenue stream to support their work. The function is used to promote industry relevant events, ensuring that as many occupational therapists become increasingly engaged with the community as possible.

Login Levels

By default, Drupal has a granular security model. Tiered access levels were tailored to ensure each user was granted appropriate permissions.

We developed a solution to give RCOT control over what content was available to the public. The permissions system allows RCOT to make content available to the public or members only, which encourages more people to register on the platform. When the content is “Locked” to the public, the page allows visitors to see a preview of the content, but they must then register or login to see the whole content item.

Self Publishing

Drupal provides a modular content management system. The component based design removes barriers to entry for contributing to the website. Removing the need for coding knowledge it also reduces dependency upon developers, allowing clients to keep publishing inhouse.

Having an easy to use CMS has lead to greater staff engagement at RCOT in relation to willingness to write more often. Our intuitive solution presents a very low barrier to entry. This efficient publishing helps to underpin the desire to build the organisations reputation by all of its stakeholders.

With Drupal’s native support for capturing content in a structured manner through Content Types, serving fields tailored to suit, we created content types like:

  • Standard page
  • News
  • Job
  • Event

These types provide the skeleton for a page to exist. with elements like title, introduction, url. To deliver maximum flexibility for content editors to ‘build’ compelling and interesting pages, whilst maintaining brand integrity, we provided the ability to assemble pages from a set of available component styles.

These components included:

  • Quote
  • Text
  • Image
  • Accordion
  • Video embed
  • Document attachment
  • Related content
  • Advertisement
  • Webform

Each component type can be added to a page any number of times, in any order. Additional components can be developed in the future as the organisations content requirements adapt and change. These guides help content editors to publish in brand but also comply with accessibility and usability standards almost subconsciously.

About the Project



With these foundations in place RCOT are better placed to achieve their 3 year digital strategic roadmap.

Since launch, we have continued to work with RCOT to ensure the website continually improves upon the initial launch in line with the digital roadmap.

We have seen significant increases to key user metrics since launch. Using the period 16th May - 21st September, we have compared year-on-year stats to identify user engagement.

Bounce rates reduced by a huge 43%, mobile traffic increased by 89%, and page views rose by 43%.