The Knowledge Online

Digital strategy and website for a TV & film directory

The Knowledge Online is a market-leading TV and film directory, from the Wilmington Group. They approached Cyber-Duck to conduct an end-to-end overhaul of their website and digital strategy.

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The Knowledge is renowned in the TV and film industry as the go-to resource for contact information from suppliers and professionals. This ranges from typical services, like hiring a camera or studio, right through to the obscure, like hiring Victorian era props or even trained wild animals.

We were approached to overhaul their entire website and digital strategy: from human centred design right through to back-end system integration. Our objectives were:

  • Modernise the website: create a unique design, with high usability, and search-engine friendliness.
  • Integrate the new website with Wilmington’s existing databases and back-end technology.
  • Overhaul the search functionality, to make it easier for people to find a supplier for productions.
  • Create a new product named “Production Intelligence” from the ground-up. This would help suppliers to find a production’s status (e.g. whether it’s been green lit) and approach the correct line producer about offering their services.


The Knowledge directory joined the digital revolution in 1998, launching a web version. But the core functionality remained the same for four years. When our team got involved, it suffered from key usability and optimisation issues. 

The search engine was difficult to use, for finding production contacts. Most of the content – including 20,000 freelancers and companies – was hidden behind search. This meant engines couldn’t crawl and index a significant proportion of the site. Our user-centred process remedied this:

  • Stakeholder interviews with the advertising, editorial, support and leadership teams, to understand the full business needs and objectives.
  • Guerrilla user research, interviewing real / potential users in the Pinewood Studios canteen.
  • Lab-based focus groups with key advertisers and companies listed on the website, particularly analysing the search functionality.
  • Card sorting sessions to establish information architecture, and map user journeys.


Based on our findings, we began re-building the website with low-fidelity (but fully functional) prototypes of key functionality. These included the search, registration, profile builder and member features.

This meant we could integrate their extensive internal databases from the start. We could iteratively test and tweak the logic and flow of these features with real people, from Elstree, Pinewood and Shepperton Studios. When we entered the art direction stage, we developed a pattern library that could be applied to the prototypes, and flexibly improved with feedback.

This process was the key to overhauling the user experience of crucial features. We’re particularly proud of the intuitive search feature, making it easy to find relevant freelancers: suggesting categories or companies as the user types, and filtering by location. We eliminated an arduous task for The Knowledge team: using the simple (but effective) profile builders, members can now directly add and manage their own profiles. 


Not content with improving the design and user experience, we also transformed The Knowledge’s fortunes with search engine optimisation. We brought the full directory of categories and profiles to the surface, so search engines could crawl and index tens of thousands of previously hidden pages. This contributed to an impressive set of results, just two months after launch: 

  • 144% increase in number of organic keywords used to find the website
  • 42% increase in new visitors to the website

Lastly, we designed and built the new ‘Production Intelligence’ service from scratch. Aiming to reveal the status of a production to suppliers, we created a great experience: producing a new branding and mapping out the user journeys. The result was over £350,000 of new revenue generated for The Knowledge in the first 2 years since launch.

organic search

26% increase

in organic traffic to the website


42% increase

in new visitors to the website

Doug Marshall

“The new website is a true transformation. It puts us in a prime position to take The Knowledge to the next level, by providing some ground-breaking features and improving usability for new and existing users alike.”

Doug Marshall

Publishing Director, Wilmington plc

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