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The Level — NZ Drug Foundation

A straight up guide helping people learn, think and talk about their drug use.

  • UX consulting
  • web development
  • Managed application stack

Development of the NZ Drug Foundation’s new website - The Level - providing a space for New Zealanders to learn about their drug use and practical ways to make changes.

NZ Drug Foundation have been providing research-based, judgement-free support and information to New Zealanders through their platforms for many years. We worked with them, and their brand/design agency Curative, to build a new website directly focussed on helping people who use alcohol and drugs, and their friends and whānau.

Silverstripe development

The Level is one of a suite of websites that NZ Drug Foundation use to provide information to their audiences. In order to best leverage technology in the future, we developed the website in Silverstripe CMS to bring it into alignment with other websites in the technology suite.

Silverstripe is a powerful, intuitive CMS and provides a strong framework for custom development.

We invest time into the initial setup of tools, process and infrastructure which pays off in the long run by making the website much easier to maintain. This also supports our ability to leverage code and functionality across other NZ Drug Foundation websites.

Image of the editing fields for definitions in the CMS. Image of a word underlined with a help box showing a definition of the word.


A challenge when providing information about drugs and their effects lies in the language used. Slang terms are common but to provide correct, educational content The Level needs to use correct terminology. The challenge is doing this in a way that is still usable and readable for their key users.

The Definitions functionality we developed means that:

  • The Level’s content team identify words/acronoyms/phrases that need further definition and create this definition in the backend.
  • This is displayed for users if they click/hover over the word that they don’t understand (indicated visually on the website).
  • The Level only need to create this definition once and it will display any time that word is used anywhere on the website.
Image of the editing fields for definitions in the CMS. Image of a word underlined with a help box showing a definition of the word.

Complex page types

There is an extensive amount of information included in The Level’s Drug index. We worked with designs provided by Curative to create a tabbed page experience that allows users to read through information broken down into digestible chunks.

  • Each tab of content has a unique URL. This means that users who search Google will land directly on the part of the page relevant to them, or that a user can send a link directly to specific information on the page — e.g. safe using.
  • Tabbed content is loaded in via Javascript - reducing page load speed.
  • The content of every tab is fully customisable and made up of various types such as accordions, videos, blockquotes, etc.
Screenshot of a drug info page on The Level website.

Highlights of the project

  • We enjoyed working closely with the team at Curative to bring their designs to life.
  • We created custom page and section theming through the CMS - allowing the content team to select the colour scheme of website sections and see this reflected across all elements.
  • The work was largely driven by the content team meaning the information remained front and centre of the user experience.
  • This was our first foray into working with Lottie animations and was a great learning experience.
  • We always enjoy working with the team at NZ Drug Foundation and supporting their kaupapa.
Gif showing interaction with website from home page to safer using to detailed information.
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Technology enables us to do some awesome things. We love how a simple greeting or question can turn into something amazing.

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