Enhancing Oxfordshire Air Quality

Across Oxfordshire, 91% of residents indicated that they were concerned about air quality to some degree, with 45% saying that they are ‘always’ concerned about the issue.

When the opportunity to design an air quality website came knocking, Justine embraced the challenge. While we've been primarily engaged in supporting Ricardo's Drupal sites, this project presented a unique chance to do some user-focused web design on a very small budget. And so, with limited resources and a plethora of existing components, we set out to breathe life into Oxfordshire's air quality online presence.

What We Accomplished

To ensure that our design would truly resonate with users, we organised several design workshops. During these sessions, we examined the user research conducted by the councils and explored various websites that stakeholders admired. To stimulate creative thinking, we posed intriguing questions, like, "If your website were a celebrity, who would it be?" However, no consensus on a celebrity emerged. Undaunted, we continued to challenge stakeholders to think beyond the conventional.

Amidst the discussions, Paulo, the project coordinator, compared the website's essence to a springtime stroll along the river: radiant, sunny, and brimming with colour and life. While this vivid imagery inspired us, it also presented accessibility challenges due to the array of colours and idea of movement. Justine, found the perfect opportunity to incorporate her signature shade, a delightful pink hue (#d80d69), into the design. You'll spot it throughout the site, adding a touch of her unique style.

Given the project's budget constraints, we focused our design efforts on creating a basic page structure—a style guide featuring all the essential HTML elements—and prioritised the homepage. After all, the heart of this website lies in the map and the requirement was for it to be on the homepage.

With a collection of components at our disposal, Justine faced the exciting task of setting this site apart from the numerous Local Authority websites in existence. Since this website represented a collaboration involving all the Oxfordshire councils, we initially considered using the individual council colours. However, we decided to take a bolder and brighter approach.

Justine added textures and angles to add movement and life to the website, using fixed background images that reveal more with scrolling made everyone smile. We designed only with a HTML, and everyone had access to the work in progress meaning iterations could be made fast and shown to users quickly for feedback.

Comparison of Council Colours Above: Initial colours from each council

Brighter Style guide Above: The bolder and brighter colour palette

The Impressive Results

Without further ado, we present the homepage of the Oxfordshire Air Quality website:


Don't just take our word for it—explore the website yourself at www.oxonair.uk.

In the words of the editor of Air Quality News, who had a sneak peek, "I had a play on the Oxfordshire AQ website and am really impressed!" High praise indeed!

We'd like to congratulate Sara, Szymon, Tom and the team from the Ricardo Digital Services team for elevating this project from my initial two-page wireframe designs. It's a testament to the power of teamwork.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments! We're currently working on a website for Ealing Council and making enhancements to Kent Air. Both designs are in progress as we speak. We can't wait to share them with you.

In the world of web design and air quality, the journey never ends, and we're keen to keep making improvements.

We'd love to create something with you

Email your ideas, brief or chicken jokes to hello@wearechicken.co.uk or book a 30 minute slot with us on Calendly.