The Naval Review

Who is The Naval Review?

The Naval Review is a charitable, membership community drawn from a wide spectrum of interested and knowledgeable practitioners and commentators on naval and maritime matters. The Naval Review represents the interests and concerns surrounding Military Maritime Matters. Its members are drawn from serving and retired personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and their Reserve arms above and below decks.

What was the brief?

In 2023, a new ‘Digital First’ approach was launched to encourage a more dynamic exchange of ideas in real time as well as maintaining the hardcopy quarterly journal for those who prefer a more traditional product.

What were the challenges?

The Naval Review wanted a system that was good but one that left room to grow and was flexible enough to expand. The easy part of the project was recognising that there was an urgent need to update and streamline the website. The harder part was the complexities of developing the back end of the site, specifically the customer management and support aspects of the site. A primary challenge arose in the technical task of importing the old databases into a new system without loss of information.

A further challenge was keeping the current users of the Naval Review on board with the changes. A minority of users needed persuading that the development of the digital platform was a positive thing. Toco Digital’s role in this was to outline and communicate the benefits of the new system.

What were the solutions?

Our work on the project, therefore, was a balance between tackling the technical complexities of the new site, and diplomatically promoting the change. This required careful planning and consultation, followed by rigorous project management from Toco Digital working in liaison with the Naval Review team. The resulting website was launched on time and within budget. Following the launch, Toco Digital continued to support the Naval Review in expanding and developing the site as new issues were produced.

What was the journey?

The journey of the development of the new website was clear and meticulously plotted. We began with a series of detailed conversations with the Naval Review team covering their requirements and their dissatisfaction with the old site. Following these, we submitted a number of options for the development along with a proposed timetable for the project.

Once we had a clear idea of the scale and requirements of the project, we then worked with our developer, Matt, to create a wireframe for the new site. The wireframe was a schematic blueprint for key pages that allowed the Naval Review team to simply visualise the proposals for the new site. Once approved, allowed our designer, Tom, to create a concept for the site based on this solid foundation.

We liaised closely with the Naval Review team during the building process, holding regular meetings with key members of the team. We then supported them directly in the population of the new site before returning to the developer to focus on the backend systems.

What were the results?

The results of the project were immediately apparent with a resulting website that was faster, more intuitive, more mobile friendly and easier to edit.

The changes to the administrative processes allowed by the new technology mean that registration is much faster and the information is more accessible allowing for better monitoring of membership numbers.

The new site also creates the potential for the Naval Review members to access and exploit the value of the journal by including the ability to search the past 110 years worth of articles, a vast repository of historical material of 7,000 published pieces.

Naval Review

In their words...

Whilst the client may have a clear vision, they are often at the mercy of the designers and developers to produce a product to cost and time. Toco’s approach was professional, open and honest, thereby growing a high level of trust between the parties which enabled an open working environment and a great relationship to develop between everyone concerned. The results have been outstanding.

The Naval Review CEO Mike Beardall

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