Getting everyone on the same page at Littlewood Fencing

You’ve probably read our previous articles on our work with Littlewood Fencing (if you haven’t, check out this link for a full case study). Our latest stream of work and large release has focused on changes which benefit everyone in the company: we created a new dashboard.

The background

Let’s roll back to the beginning to give this story some context!

Littlewood Fencing originally came to us because of issues with their spreadsheet-based purchase order generation system, which was getting unwieldy. After working on that, we quickly rolled out a succession of features to help with matching invoices to purchase orders, recording fencer timesheets and health and safety, various approvals queues, design requests, finance views… the list goes on.

However, functionality was always given top priority in budget allocations over visual experience. This meant that upon logging in to the Littlewood portal, users just saw a list of fairly generic-looking buttons. So in conjunction with Littlewood, it was decided that some attention should be paid to making the dashboard screen, as it’s the whole team’s main port-of-call every day.

What did we do?

To implement the new dashboard on Littlewood's portal, we:

  • Organised all of the common links into a pull-out menu drawer, which is expandable and always available on any page. We also assigned each category a visual icon to help with this navigation.
  • Introduced a Company News feed. With staff on site, at different office sites, and even working from home, it’s more important than ever to be able to share company news and updates with the whole team. News feed items can be pinned by admins, liked, and commented on by other staff members.
  • Added a place for all company documents to be stored. Here, any staff member can find the policy details they’re looking for.
  • Created a place for employees to share their feedback. Staff can submit suggestions for improvements in the company, and admins can share how they acted on the feedback in a “You Said, We Did” area. Staff can also report hazards, environment issues, good practice and health and safety concerns via an observation card, something that was previously a paper document.
  • Created an “Ask for Advice” widget, where dashboard users can ask questions related to their daily working tasks that any other staff member can comment on and share advice.
  • Added a Company Poll, where admins can pose questions to get a general idea of feedback from the whole company.
  • Introduced a Company Directory, where any staff member can find the internal contact details of another.
  • Created a Mood Checker, where staff members can select a face that most represents how they are feeling on a daily basis. If a negative mood is selected, they are prompted to get in touch with the wellbeing team at Littlewood.
  • Added a BBC News feed and a weather widget for each of the three main Littlewood base locations.

What else?


On top of all of these features, we also added notifications to the portal. There are different levels of notifications, depending on their urgency, but those most needing attention are flagged via a familiar bell icon with a red number. Within a week of the roll out of this feature, an significant uptick in the speed of completion of tasks was noted.

Holiday requests

In an effort to gradually cut out paper-based workflows across the company, work has been started on an HR area of the portal. This initially gives all staff the ability to make holiday requests, view their outstanding leave balances, and see the dates they have booked off. Rolling out this new feature alongside the dashboard gave everybody the opportunity to log on and try using something new.

Onboarding tour

Last but not least, to assist with the adoption and learning process around the new dashboard, we introduced the functionality for an onboarding tour. Everyone visiting the portal for the first time is shown the tour, highlighting the features listed above. This functionality can be used on other pages to provide guidance as new features are added over time.

Excellent user acceptance

Thanks to the poll feature, we know that the new dashboard has had an overwhelmingly positive response from the whole Littlewood team, with 93% of staff members saying they like the new look.

Ultimately, we've delivered a useful, functional, and attractive main central hub for Littlewood staff to use on a daily basis.

The Switchplane Team

Hey! We are Switchplane and we help businesses save time and money by building them custom software. This can be anything from a job management portal to a complex ecommerce solution. Want to find out more?

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