We recently worked with a known leader in vocational training here in Portland, Oregon, and you’ll find many of their graduates building thriving careers here in town and beyond. In 2017, however, they decided to revamp their online experience, to better connect their audience with the details they don’t already know about their diverse programs.
We partnered with them and brought our skills in website design, custom web development for WordPress, and content strategy to create a website that entices new students, and connects current students and alumni with the information they need.
The Goal: Give Control Back to The User
When our client first contacted us, their previous website was failing them in a number of ways:
- Prospective students couldn’t find what they needed–the information was often there, but buried beneath a confusing website structure. This led to frequent phone calls about basic questions, wasting both new students’ and and their staffers’ precious time.
- The visual design was inconsistent with their established brand standards and print materials. There were bright, distracting colors and “quirky” icons that just didn’t make sense with their grounded, calm, and welcoming culture.
- They felt a lack of control over their content. Their previous website was so difficult to update that they didn’t feel empowered to do so. This led to inconsistent updates, and information that was misleading or outdated.
Our goal was clear: dig down into the complex muck, zero in on the most important needs of both the school and its audience, and refine it into a design that more honestly communicates what it’s like to attend or receive their services.
The Process: Getting To Know You
Our Content Audit and Content Map make a great starting point for websites like this one–this client had an embarrassment of riches in terms of written content! So, we started by digging in to establish goals and identify sought-after content, and reorganizing it all in a way that flows more naturally.
While content review was happening, our Grayscreen Prototype gave their team a visual frame of reference for the site structure–our grayscreen is like an interactive wireframe, so they could get a better understanding of how elements fit together, what goes where, and how they can keep their content up-to-date. We also got to present them with our ideas for customizations, such as custom Content Types and Templates to make it even easier to manage their own pages and blog posts beautifully.
Design Mockups were where we brought their visual brand back into the picture, but also where we put their content-driven goals into action. We moved away from the bright “clown car” colors, introduced organic textures, and brought in new photos that showcase their Student Life experience. We also built in eye-catching and clear calls-to-action, so viewers can more easily find what they’re looking for and what the school wants them to see.
Finally, while we were putting the site through rigorous pre-launch testing, we also hooked up our client’s staff with Training and Documentation, to help them feel like empowered managers of their new website. We walked them through the Dashboard functions they’d need most often, answered their questions, and equipped them with a handy custom-written user guide to refer back to and share with new staff.
The Results: More Engagement, Less Headache
No longer struggling with an off-brand website that they can’t update themselves, this client now has more time and energy to expand and grow their marketing. We’re not only driving traffic to their website — we’re also authentically reflecting the student life experience they offer, and encouraging visitors to take the next step towards admission.
Is your outdated website holding back your growth? Upswept Creative can free you, too, from the struggles of intimidating Dashboards and confused branding. It all starts with a conversation.