School on Wheels: Highlighting a Brand Through UX Design

 

A great organization  should have an equally fantastic website… but that isn’t always the case, as most of us have experienced at one time or another. It’s especially crushing when a nonprofit that effectively serves a cause we love is being held back by a site that is dull or difficult to navigate. This was the case with our recent clients, School on Wheels. Their mission could not be more noble or their execution more on target— they provide academic help to children who are homeless or living in shelters and foster care in Southern California.

When School on Wheels approached us for a simple site refresh, we soon discovered that a quick update wasn’t going to be enough to boost their message and reach more users. Because so many different users visit the website, their content was dense and the site hierarchy was often misleading. In order to give School on Wheels a truly user friendly and well-branded site, we needed to take a deeper dive into organizing their information.

The first piece of our solution was a comprehensive workshop in which we worked with School on Wheels to better understand the needs of their site users. We all took part in an exercise that categorized all the content from their current site onto index cards — by dividing the information into categories that we could physically group and move around, we were able to better understand how each part of the site relates to the others. This activity is not only important for our team to understand the site content but also for our clients to think critically about their website and its function. This exercise enabled our team to turn almost 70 pages of information from the site into just five main pages accompanied by a logical grouping of pages in the footer. Together, these elements formed an organized site map with a clear hierarchy.

In addition to the information architecture, our design also played a big role in creating a streamlined, usable site that highlights both School on Wheels’ mission and adds consistency to the brand. By offsetting the playful, bright color palette and youthful typeface with a very simple layout, we were able to draw users directly to the mission statement and images of the children who benefit from School on Wheels’ tutoring services. Our goal was to funnel visitors to the site directly into their desired pathway, whether that’s to donate, volunteer, or simply to find more information on the mission and programs.

At verynice, we know a streamlined and approachable site does more than just provide users with a good experience. By creating a site that School on Wheels can use to funnel visitors into their network as volunteers, donors, and advocates, we hope to empower them to grow their community of support— and effectively expand their mission to provide more tutoring services to underserved and homeless children.

Credit List:
Project Lead/Strategic Direction: Matthew Manos
Design Direction: Kate Manos
Art Direction/Design Lead: Alisa Olinova
Design: Josiah Pak, Jessica Nam, Jean Pongsai, Elisa Michelet
Project/Accounts Manager: Noah Goldberg-Jaffe

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