Website Redesign Project Plan

  • Project Purpose

    In January 2015, Evanston Township High School District 202 initiated a website redesign project to refresh its web presence through improved design, content, structure, user experience and maintainability. The primary goal of this project was to make the ETHS website, launched in June 2010, more intuitive and friendly to users by creating a fresh, responsive and approachable design.

    The new ETHS website launched in August 2015. The refreshed website offers a more intuitive user experience that improves the organization and presentation of content so that visitors can find the information they seek at-a-glance. It provides our primary audiences with a personalized experience, giving them access to an array of informative resources and online tools to help them get their questions answered, help them gain an understanding of what ETHS can offer to help them be successful, and to keep informed about different activities happening in the school district.

    To better engage visitors using our website on multiple communication devices and with nearly two-thirds (63%) of cell phone owners viewing websites from their mobile devices, the refreshed website uses a "responsive" design that meets user needs on any device (desktop displays, laptop computers, ChromeBooks, tablet devices, mobile phones). Other design factors were implemented to increase the usability, accessibility and overall visual appeal of the redesigned site. The refreshed site uses the school's new logos and brand standards and serves as a far-reaching marketing tool to engage our many audiences worldwide, celebrate our unique history and current successes, and maximize ETHS’s reputation as one of the top high schools in the United States.

    Project Goals

    The website redesign project was established to achieve ten goals outlined below:
    • Make the site a user-friendly tool for prospective and current students and their families, while serving the needs of staff, alumni, and the community.
    • Improve the website user experience so that both first-time and return visitors can find information quickly and easily. This includes structuring the website around how visitors use the website, not necessarily how the district and school is organized.
    • Select a content management system (CMS) that enables staff to create and maintain web pages with less effort and increased efficiency. The CMS will provide a consistent look throughout the site and offer more features to encourage staff to use the common CMS rather than maintaining websites hosted by outside vendors.
    • Improve overall accessibility and usability of the website so that all users have equal access to information and functionality.
    • Create a "responsive" website that delivers a consistent, quality experience across all devices, including desktop displays, laptops, ChromeBooks, tablets, mobile phones and other devices.
    • Create a website design that is compelling, attractive and modern; align design with new district brand standards and leverage the website as a marketing tool to "tell our story."
    • Eliminate the need for a separate ETHS staff intranet by creating a secure channel on the new website to house internal communications and information for employees.
    • Remove duplicated and outdated content by conducting a complete site audit to eliminate outdated and unused content; implement standards that discourage duplicated and outdated content.
    • Update content with language that is easy to scan, quick to read and mobile-friendly and that is aligned with our brand. Not only will the new look match the ETHS brand, but the language used on the pages will be consistent with that brand, too.
    • Improve content relevance and search engine optimization through the creation of clear, relevant and timely website content.

    Target Audiences (#1-4 are the primary focus)

    The redesigned site was built to better serve the varied audiences of the school district, including:
    • ETHS District 202 students and their families (current and prospective)
    • ETHS District 202 employees (current and prospective)
    • Alumni
    • Community residents
    • Volunteers, interns, student teachers (current and prospective)
    • City and local government, community businesses, educational institutions, organizations, faith-based institutions, and other groups
    • General public

    Scope

    The ETHS Communications Office and the Instructional and Informational Technology (IIT) Department partnered with SchoolWires, a company that specializes in school district website solutions, to produce the redesigned website. The Communications Office and IIT Department collaborated with school departments, district offices, and administrators in completing Phase I and Phase II of the website redesign process This included a series of intake meetings with stakeholders to discuss existing content, desired functionality, and web page template needs. Input was sought from the larger school community using a ETHS website redesign online survey. Based on the findings from Phase I and Phase II, the Communications Office and IIT Department created project timelines, milestones and deadlines, conducted intake meetings and infrastructure brainstorms, documented final decisions, produced deliverables, and helped implement a staff training plan.

    For more information about the website redesign project, contact Evangeline Semark, Director of Communications and Engagement at semarke@eths.k12.il.us or 847-424-7515.