After its recent renaming, EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) tapped our team to envision how the new brand could be translated into a cohesive web design, development and SEM plan. The challenge lay in making its wide variety of resources for new and veteran teachers – including curriculums, instructions, assessments, and leadership materials – more accessible
Define an Approachable and Brand-Driven Online Experience
The client’s new name and visual identity called for a full redefinition of how it would be represented online. Over five months, our team helped EL Education work through these subtleties and create central organizing themes that would bring their web presence to life. With over six million curriculum downloads, it would be critical to present the depth and breadth of the organization and its content resources, without overwhelming the teachers who come to them to them for advice and assistance. A seamless experience would result in teachers contacting EL Education and schools joining their network. The team became a collaborative force to achieve these objectives.
Create an Integrated Design, Development, and Search Strategy
Every piece of the project had to work together. As a full-service agency, we highlighted its skillful inter-departmental collaboration. That meant weekly client meetings with all teams in the same room to solve key business challenges. Collectively, the group agreed on a responsive design structure, which implemented scalability, vertical menu, and logo resizing, to allow teachers to discover EL Education’s resources on any device.
To further tell the story of how the organization provides tools to teachers and schools with open arms, they chose a design that would channel a classroom, complete with cubbies, boxes, student drawings, and a signature dog-ear corner. Teaching is sometimes as much organization as it is passion and emotion – and the design needed to reflect this. Once teachers found the ELeducation.org via improved search, they would be easily directed through the client-provided content strategy.
Prioritize Findability and Guidability
Simple wayfinding design and development elements let readers know where they are and what they can find. our design leads worked to make document discovery feel gamefied. The team implemented a childlike grid of tiles with thick, colorful outlines to present hundreds of documents on the Resources page. Each animates into place and upon rollover, fills in with color to bring in an extra element of lighthearted refinement.
The development team faced the challenge of making complex filters seem simple.The opportunity and the challenge for this project lay in the sheer amount of downloadable documents and resources. In order to allow teachers easy access to the most relevant items, we created a clear-cut database with sorting filters driven by keyword and category tags. Throughout the process, the team also ensured the robust CMS – decidedly built in Craft, which is known for its intuitive UX – was just as easy to use.
From the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective, the goal was to create more pathways into ELeducation.org. To ensure each page was intentionally created as a Google search landing page, the first tile has a definition of the page topic – e.g. Arts Integration. This provides context for teachers who come to the page straight from search – and it’s an added orientation for site browsers, too. For further search success, the site’s thousands of links were accurately tagged and skillfully redirected.
An Immediate Improvement in Accessing the Site and Its Contents
Today, more educators are discovering and browsing ELeducation.org. This is shown in the 17.5% increase in document downloads and the increase in pages per session. Many of these new visits are coming from a 42% bump in mobile users looking for resources – and now finding EL Education higher up in search results. Our team’s work to improve SEO effectiveness with the responsive design is at the core of this multi-pronged success.