Case Study: United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties, FL
The United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties (UWLS) wanted to update their websites design with a more modern appearance. The design also needed to be responsive for use on a variety of devices including desktop and mobile. It was also important that UWLS staff had the ability to update and maintain their own website on a user-friendly CMS interface.
Issues with their previous design company involving slow-response times and infrastructure changes had UWLS looking for a quick turn-around time on a newly designed site. MIBS, Inc. provided unprecedented customer service and personalized training for UWLS staff. This along with our use of the WordPress CMS enables their staff to update website information without having to rely on third-party assistance. Our team also remains available to provide immediate and complete support to UWLS staff as needed.
Some notable features of this project include:
- A responsive design
- WordPress CMS
- On-Site Calendar & Calendar Feeds
- Custom Forms for:
- Donation Payments
- Volunteer Applications
- CARES Act Applications
- Volunteer Opportunity Listings
- News Post/Feed
- Social Media Linking
- Google Translate Integration
- Impact Calculator
Our website design and development process consists of 4 phases.
Phase 1: Project strategy Discussion:
We kicked of the design project with an initial phone meeting to discuss goals and a timeline for the project, as well as things they did and did not like about the current website. We also went over design preferences and asked the UWLS staff to provided examples of websites that had features and functions they liked. After this the UWLS staff provided necessary assets like logos, images, and PDFS, so that the MIBS, Inc. team could begin work on the new site.
Phase 2: Initial Design & Content Population:
The MIBS, Inc. team created a live development environment for the new UWLS website on our own site. We then migrated content from the existing website to the new site, and added other information provided during phase 1 to the development site. After this we shared the link to the development site with UWLS staff, which allowed them to monitor the progress of the site and request changes to the design in real time.
For this project our team created several homepage and landing page variations. The UWLS staff then identified which aspects of the design they liked the best. The final design was a combination of the most liked features from each of the variations provided. Communication between our team and UWLS staff continued throughout development and all modification requested by UWLS were addressed promptly.
Phase 3: Testing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), & Accessibility:
Our team considers SEO throughout all of our projects. It is not an afterthought, but rather it is at the forefront of everything we do. During the design phase of the project our team:
- Ensures images have appropriate tags.
- Checks all links to minimize redirects and avoid dead links and 404 pages.
- Writes appropriate SEO pages titles and meta descriptions, using the keywords discovered in the planning phase.
- Ensures all content and tags utilize appropriate keywords.
After the website is launches our team also submits an XML sitemap file to major search engines for indexing.
We also prioritize website accessibility. During the design phase our team:
- Makes sure that images have appropriate alternative text.
- Creates a design that meets contrast requirements.
- Conducts accessibility audits throughout development.
We also include accessibility best practices when training clients.
Beyond SEO and accessibility this phase of the project also includes testing. The MIBS, Inc. team, with the help of UWLS staff tested all website functions to ensure everything was operating as expected.
Phase 4: Website Launch & Training:
The launch deadline and timeframe of this project was tight. This was because UWLS’s contract with their hosting company and previous developer were about to expire. As a result, they wanted to complete training after the website launched. Training was conducted by the lead web developer on the project via a screen-share meeting. We also provided a comprehensive training document for UWLS to reference in the future.
Due to the tight timeline UWLS staff also requested that a few less-pressing items and changes be completed on the website after it had launched. Our team worked hard to ensure that the project meet their needs and expectations, and was completed in a timely fashion. In the end UWLS received a modern website that is simple for their staff to updated. UWLS has complete ownership of their website, and they maintain an annual hosting contract with MIBS, Inc. For more information about our design process contact MIBS, Inc. today.