Huntercombe Group

Creating a new website for Huntercombe


Every day at work, people working for mental health provider Huntercombe help people lead better, more fulfilling lives.

ZPB was briefed by Huntercombe to create a website that would capture the amazing things that happen in their hospitals and centres every day.

According to Valerie Michie, chief executive of the Huntercombe Group, as told to Health Investor, June 2017, Huntercombe has found its most effective tool for driving business and attracting staff has been updating its website.

“The website has just been really powerful in all sorts of settings we hadn’t imagined.”

What users wanted

To understand what website users wanted, we brought together people from different services and with different perspectives for a user experience workshop. Identifying personas and their common needs led to the following insights:

  • Users wanted to know what happens at a hospital or centre and what it looked like
  • Some users will be using the website at a stressful and anxious moment in their lives
  • We found more commonality than you might have thought – whether a patient, parent, partner or carer, the thoughts, questions and feelings were shared

The overall objective was that the website had to reassure users that Huntercombe is the best place for them, feel less scared and improve how users navigate to hospital pages. The design brief was the site should be friendly and non-corporate-looking.

“Hi there! I’m a service user.” Said nobody in the world. Ever.

We developed a tone of voice which was adopted throughout Huntercombe’s communications, using language suitable for a new patient’s perspective. The jargon was ditched and encouraged people to write the way people speak because life is better without waffle!


And finally, we tested the site with teenagers, patients, families and staff to see how user-friendly the site was for doing specific things. It’s always valuable to see people using a new website and the findings led to us making some changes to improve the usability further. The people we asked to test the site rated the new tone of voice highly and found it easy to read.

A picture tells a thousand words

The photographs on this site are of real Huntercombe people doing what they do – captured by photographer Mischa Haller at photoshoots in Maidenhead, Ashley House and Moorpark Place.

Lights, camera, action!

We had amazing access to Huntercombe sites to produce a total of ten short films. It was an honour to meet incredible patients and staff including the engaging Alastair and his support worker Caron, as well as former Maidenhead patient Christine and the teams at Ashley House, Norwich and Frenchay with many more inspirational people.


What we do