Strengthening a bond between a school and it's families
Research, User Experience, Development
Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) recently changed its name and shifted away from its parent company. With this change, it sought to strengthen its bond with the families and students it serves. Andculture was brought in to help create a website that reflected CCA's new identity, reinforced relationships with existing families, and encouraged new families to find out more and consider enrolling.
As part of the research process, stakeholders at CCA were interviewed to evaluate website look-and-feel, messaging, functionality and end-user experience. Each stakeholder brought unique viewpoints to the table, emphasizing the different roles the website would need to play. Questions centered around the different processes and procedures that the website would need to include, from information session registration to enrollment. During these meetings, a list of features for the future site was generated, and a plan was developed to continuously launch new features to meet and delight families and users.
During this phase, each phase of the website was validated and refined. The website would begin with a preliminary splash page, then a basic site with space for events and media, culminating with a final, fully-functioning site with content management capabilities. From our initial stakeholder interviews, we were able to prioritize and refine potential features for the site. We also distilled CCA’s messaging to position the ultimate CCA experience: authenticity and a focus on family service and support.
We created user flows to determine how users would move through the site to learn more about CCA. The enrollment experience is a crucial function that the website serves, and during this phase, we refined and validated each step of the user experience to confirm the enrollment process as we understood it from the research phase.
Design & Development
During the design phase of the project, we developed wireframes for the main site based on our approved user flows. A kit of parts was designed for the site utilizing CCA’s newly approved brand. VIP pages were custom designed in this phase and reviewed with CCA for approval.
To herald CCA’s new website launch and transition to Commonwealth Charter Academy, a preliminary website launched in February 2016 in conjunction with the announcement of the school’s new name. This mobile-responsive site included basic information about CCA, media information and a table of upcoming events where visitors could learn more.
Deployment & Testing
In May 2016, CCA’s website launched on an integrated development platform giving CCA the maximum capability to content manage their information and build out new pieces of the website. This platform included customized features and integrations, all of which allowed for ability to edit. In addition to pages that articulated CCA’s commitment to authenticity and education, the mobile-responsive site contains an interactive course catalog, real-life success stories, statistics from recent parent surveys and a list of upcoming info sessions and orientation events. The site included a digitized enrollment process, guiding users through the site to learn more about CCA, prompting them to attend events, and eventually encouraging them to enroll in the school.
After CCA’s initial website launch, the list of features from the research and synthesis phase was revisited. These features and others that have been uncovered over the months of design, development and deployment will be rolled out over the course of the rest of the year. Each feature stands to strengthen CCA’s bond with its families, staff and learners. Features include a page where veteran CCA parents can be contacted directly; content-managed blog; enhancements to the homepage; a dashboard for students, teachers and parents; and translation and language support.
A unique component of this project was the incorporation of three CCA students into the Andculture office as interns. These interns provided valuable feedback on the website’s functionality and were able to help code a few basic pieces of the website under supervision of our development team. As a project, these interns created a preliminary version of the dashboard feature that will be implemented in the months following the site launch.