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Oxygen is behind Downing Street web portal launch with Kevin McCloud

Award-winning, multi-service agency, Oxygen, is celebrating the news that their creative efforts in the concept and development of a website portal for the self-build industry have been rewarded with an official launch at Downing Street.

Oxygen, which has offices in Devon and Somerset, won the pitch against two other agencies to work with The National Self Build Association (NaSBA), Housing Minister Grant Shapps and a number of well known TV house-building experts including Kevin McCloud, architecture expert, presenter of Channel 4’s ‘Grand Designs’ and architect, presenter and independent advisor to the Government on empty homes, George Clarke.

The web portal, www.selfbuildportal.org.uk is designed to provide encouragement and impartial advice to people who want to build their own home to suit their family’s needs. Oxygen’s interactive design approach secured the pitch with a flash animated decision making path to guide users through their own individual self-build scenario, delivering relevant information for the type of property, location and law.

Ted Stevens talks through Oxygen’s website design

The clever ‘jot pad’ allows users to copy and paste information as they read it on to one handy online note form built into the portal.

Ted Stevens, NaSBA Chairman, said: “Oxygen’s innovative approach and emphatic use of animation to engage the user in a logical thought process secured the pitch in their favour. We were particularly impressed by the ‘jot pad’ concept which demonstrated their understanding of our users’ need to gather information quickly and efficiently.”

Mr Stevens continued: “The result is a fantastic resource for the self-build community; it will help would-be self builders figure out what, realistically, they can afford to build; explain how their budgets can go further if they team up with others or do a portion of the work themselves, and it highlights the parts of the UK where it can be cheaper to find a site and construct a home.”

The web portal forms part of the Government’s Housing Strategy to bring about a custom build housing revolution and was formally launched at Downing Street as part of a number of measures designed to turn the concept of self-build into a mass market opportunity. Explaining the new web portal at the launch event, Housing Minister Grant Shapps said that for the first time, anyone wanting to build their own home from scratch – whatever their budget – will have the advice and support they need to get started.

Steve Lodge, Managing Director, Oxygen stated: “This was an extremely exciting project which engaged all our creative thinkers in exploring the realms of web animation.” Referring to the innovative ‘jot pad’ concept, he explained: “I know from experience that moving between word and internet pages is annoying and quite often the cut and paste key operation fails in the process while some web sites simply don’t allow for material to be copied. We realised early on, users would need some kind of personal directory, where they could collate all their relevant information in one easy location.”

The launch event included Grant Shapps MP, Kevin McCloud, Tommy Walsh and George Clarke

Commenting on the overall success of the project, Mr Lodge concluded: “Here at Oxygen we are used to working with well known brands such as Hertz and Ericsson but this high profile project proved a challenge in that we had to listen to and fulfil the requirements of a number of expert personalities in this field. It has been a great experience and particularly rewarding to be able to say Oxygen now has the endorsement of Number 10!”

Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.