Paragon Community Housing Group simplifies online and wins NHA 2014 Award

Paragon Community Housing Group has overhauled its online platform to make it extremely simple for people to gain access to the services and knowledge on offer when renting or buying a Paragon home.

The website’s simplicity on any desktop or mobile device, coupled with the Paragon team’s proactive marketing, have made it so successful that Paragon Community Housing won Best Digital Marketing at the 2014 National Housing Awards.

The site – www.paragonchg.co.uk – is enabling Paragon to enhance its services and build stronger relationships with tenants and home buyers.

Hannah Elford, design and communications manager for Paragon, says:

“We knew the basic boxes we had to tick with the new site. It had to work for a diverse group of users with very different web skills. It had to be responsive and work on any platform.”

“Importantly, it had to make it easier for residents to do five key things: contact us; learn about welfare benefits and reforms; report a repair; pay rent online; and find out about housing options.”

Paragon provides affordable homes in ten boroughs in south-west London and Surrey. The group offers a range of local authority, sheltered and supported housing, and helps first-time buyers and keyworkers to get on the property ladder.

The organisation needed a website which would be incredibly simple for anyone to use, on a desktop or mobile device, even if they’re not a regular web user.

Built by Oxford firm White October, the new platform is driven by an open-source Drupal content management system and was developed closely in line with feedback from Paragon tenants.

The result is a fully responsive site that is simple to use on desktops or any type of mobile device. The key tasks – to contact Paragon, learn about welfare and housing options, report a repair and pay rent – are all front-and-centre on the homepage, with no unnecessary steps nor repeated content.

Since it was launched in October 2013, site traffic is up by 30%. With more of its audience engaging online with them, Paragon is now using it to build closer relationships with tenants by generating ongoing feedback about services, Paragon and the site. There are also plans to add online polls and more features to encourage people to ask questions and get in touch.

Hannah Elford added:

“Now we have a good website that we can continue to develop, our digital journey as an organisation can begin to take shape and transform our housing services.”

“It actually means we can not only gather feedback from our customers, but communicate with them online too, and think about how we develop and market even more of our services online.”