Mobile optimisations help FRANK get the word out faster

June 2019 is a service that aims to reduce the harm caused by drugs by providing free, confidential information and advice. While the FRANK website gets significant traffic (over 500,000 monthly visits), it had not been significantly refreshed in a number of years. With 75% of FRANK’s traffic on mobile, the social marketing team grasped the opportunity to execute a mobile-first overhaul.

Public Health England rebuilds the iconic Talk to FRANK site through a faster, better mobile service.

About Public Health England (PHE)

An executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care that exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities

Headquarters in London, UK


Optimise user experience

Improve site speed and overall performance

Enhance organic search performance

Better serve mobile users


Developed a mobile-first experience

Implemented structured data to enable faster searches

Used service workers to serve content offline

Redesigned news articles as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)


39% increase in site traffic year over year

200% increase in percentage of users seeing the page loaded in less than three seconds

300% increase in percentage of users seeing the First Contentful Paint in less than a second

FRANK is a well-known, iconic brand, particularly among older audiences that grew up with the service. However, recent research uncovered that brand awareness was not as high among the core audience, 16- to 18-year-olds.To address this, the project aimed to optimise the user experience for the younger generation by:

  • Designing a mobile-first experience
  • Re-architecting the tech stack to improve site speed and create efficiencies in hosting through cloud-based technologies
  • Developing and implementing an organic search strategy that informed content and site structure for the service

The team took a user-centric approach as they followed best practices, including the implementation of structured data for faster searches, service workers to serve content offline, and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on news articles. They used Google’s Lighthouse, an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages, to continuously test performance.

As the work progressed, they established a clear set of principles for digital content with an aim of providing a frictionless, seamless experience. For example, all content is now designed to be immediate, interruptive, and entertaining. Recognising the speed of scrolling behaviour, stories are told in less than five seconds, and all stories work with the sound turned off.

''The success of FRANK reinforces the need for a strong strategy that underpins digital best practices and agile ways of working.''

– Sheila Mitchell, Director of Marketing, Public Health England

As a result of all of the team’s hard work, traffic to the site is up 39% year over year. The site speed is overwhelmingly improved, with the percentage of users seeing the First Contentful Paint in less than a second going from 17% to 79% and the percentage of users seeing the page loaded in less than three seconds going from 30% to 87%.1

''A well defined technical and organic search strategy has been the pillar of the approach to FRANK, which was critical to meeting user needs.''

– Erica Buckley, Head of Marketing Digital & Data, Public Health England

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