Creating a New Web Experience That Scales
Assessing the Situation
The major issue that I saw when I first started this project was that there are a limited number of staff members Hamilton Education can staff and that does not include a web developer. Who is maintaining their site, you might ask? Well, it’s not just one person but a small group of individuals that have some knowledge of their WordPress CMS. However, after speaking with several of these individuals, the common thread was that they were limited by the WordPress theme being used and that it prevents them from easily updating their content. Having access to this information, I was able to do research into how we might be able to make it easier for non-technical users to update and maintain the site. We were able to come to the conclusion that the WordPress Divi theme was the best option in terms of customization, ease of use, and maintenance.
Developing the Design
In terms of the visual design of the site, I was pretty much given free rein. The only shared concern that the team had was that we wanted to focus on our main conversion which was a free consultation before clients enrolled their students in a program. With that in mind we reshaped the content from the previous site to convey the value Hamilton Education provides their students, above all else. This decision helped us scope individual pages like our home and program pages with the ultimate goal of getting parents to sign up for a free consultation. And since we are using the Divi theme, we are also able to natively A/B test elements such as headlines and CTA buttons to incrementally optimize conversion rates for any page. Once the designs were finalized and approved, we moved on to building the site out on a staging ground as to not make live edits to the site. The building of the site itself was significantly accelerated by the Divi theme as you can save instances or components of certain module types and my approach was to create a sort of design system integrated within Divi for future pages/programs.
The most crucial part of this project was staying organized. When you have a medium to large website redesign, preparation is key to a successful launch and that’s why using a tool like Asana helps in organizing not only the pages but the elements that need to be added to each page. But the real benefit to Asana isn’t just the organization but the collaboration and transparency aspects so any team member can find what they are looking for without waiting on someone to update them. I have used Asana before, but this project helped me better utilize it since I was teaching others how to use it and learned a few new things along the way.
New Iterative Philosophy and Workflow
As a smaller business, Hamilton Education needs to be agile and lean if it wants to thrive and a perfect way to do that is to add an iterative process to launching programs on its website. With the help of the Divi theme, we are able to quickly test headlines and other elements on a page to see if they move the needle on conversion rates. With this new mindset, we have been able to make meaningful decisions when it comes to changing elements on pages rather than relying on pure gut instinct and guesswork.