and Wayside Publishing


Designing a holistic content experience for teaching world languages

Wayside Publishing is a world language textbook publisher who hired us for a website redesign at a unique moment in the company’s history. They had just acquired beloved supplement publisher, Fluency Matters, and were a year into a global pandemic that underscored the importance of bringing their robust and accessible digital tools to world language teachers, no matter the size of their classroom or district.



Wayside is part of a crowded sea of world language textbook publishers. When we asked stakeholders what makes Wayside unique, they each mentioned Wayside’s proficiency-based pedagogy which, simply put, meant a method of teaching that emphasizes using language, rather than memorizing it. But as we audited the website, it took significant digging to find any mention of this as a differentiator at all.

Through our research and strategy, the new site had to focus on purpose before product by answering “why” and giving context wherever possible. We had a holistic approach to content: the site should do the work, allow for opportunities for cross-linking through a more useful taxonomy, and approach content writing with a clear singular voice. Another core part of our strategy was to show Wayside giving teachers flexibility and support. Asking teachers to change their teaching style can be scary, and the site helps support teachers through professional development, ideas for curriculum, and technical support

The website must answer to teachers, ‘how will this benefit my students?’
Wayside Stakeholder

A website redesign and strategy overhaul without an identity that expressed that maturity provided us with a challenge. Our design exploration had to push them beyond the constraints of their whimsical mark to a more confident and intentional digital presence. We explored economical ways to provide light-yet-far-reaching updates to the mark, color, texture, and type system available on the site.

We have ‘arrived’ and we need our website to reflect us. We went from being a $4 million to $20 million company and we need to look like that.
Wayside Stakeholder

Since launch, the client team has voiced how much easier the new design system has been to use, especially when populating the site with new and existing content. The new color and type system has given the existing titles new texture and connection, and uploaded graphics have to do a lot less work (no more flattened images on text.)

The result of our work together has been a design system that grows alongside the client and gives a much clearer message to the teachers, district heads, and homeschoolers that choose and use Wayside products.