For a young kid, few activities are more exciting than putting things together and taking them apart to figure out how they work. Helping children identify that tinkering and building as engineering can change how they view their career opportunities, adding ‘engineer’ to the list along with fireman, actress, and doctor. This is the foundation for Engineering is Elementary (EIE), a project of the National Center for Technological Literacy based at the Museum of Science, Boston. EIE develops curriculum designed for school-aged kids to create an interest in how the material world around us is built and functions, which is key to helping them develop engineering and technological literacy.
After previously engaging with a partner in a website redesign project that ultimately didn’t meet their expectations, the team at EIE called on OHO for Drupal done right. They had uncovered a number of significant issues with their website that needed to be addressed immediately as they were having a negative impact on the business as a whole. These issues included:
- A frustrating, poor user experience
- An unstable site environment
- Inability to add and revise website content
- Lack of support from original vendor
As we worked with the EIE team to map a project plan and overhaul the site’s information architecture, the need for a larger scale marketing and branding effort surfaced. In order to create a new site that best served EIE’s audience and fixed the technical issues the EIE team was experiencing, we spent time evaluating the existing user flows, sales process, and brand strategy. By asking the right questions, we were able to develop an overall solution that fixed all of the issues impacting the business.
Before digging into the information architecture phase of the project, we discovered that much of the confusion around the site navigation and user experience was due to a lack of clarity around EIE’s offerings. The organization’s product line had expanded, but the site was doing a poor job of communicating the unique offerings of the individual products. We worked with the team to develop an overarching identity for the organization, as well as identities for each of the products, and created a style guide that helped to build brand characteristics for each.
Information Architecture & User Experience Design
Once a brand strategy was outlined, we were able to work together to create an information architecture for the website that incorporated the main brand and the three products in a way that would make sense to the site visitor. Each product targets a specific audience, from elementary and middle school teachers to out-of-school time program administrators to afterschool and camp directors. By identifying and incorporating the buying process for each of these groups into the site’s information architecture, we designed an intuitive user experience that will appeal to prospective buyers for each product.
EIE’s website was built on Drupal 7, however the previous partner who did the development had very little experience with Drupal which led to the major technical issues and the need for an overhaul. OHO’s expertise in building Drupal sites the right way was invaluable. We determined that in order to give the EIE team a content management system and website that addressed their needs and exceeded their expectations, we would need to rebuild the Drupal 7 site from scratch rather than make fixes to the existing one. By doing so, we gave EIE a new CMS that eliminated their pain points and their need to use an additional proprietary CMS on which they had been relying.
Now that the team has a content management system that works as expected and has replaced the need for an existing ancillary system, they have streamlined processes and can focus on meeting their business goals. The new information architecture and user experience design gives their site visitors a much-improved digital experience and should ultimately result in increased conversions.