A K-12 District Leading The Way
David Douglas School District
A school district is more than just a set of schools. It’s a message of hope within the community.
10,701 students, 14 different schools, 1 big multi-site. David Douglas School District No. 40 is located in East Portland. While entirely within the boundaries of Portland, David Douglas is a separate school district from Portland Public Schools and it covers 12 square miles of family homes, apartments, shopping centers and small businesses, serving a community population of approximately 53,775.
They recognized that the parents, teachers and students simply did not see their website as a valuable source for school information, events, and latest happenings within the district. However, content was only part of the problem. The overall experience was complex and stressful, especially when trying to find or locate something. They needed a solution that not only addressed content, but also addressed the way users reached that content. District employees needed a solution that was easy to maintain daily and even hourly to bring value to their families and students, regardless if it was accessed by a desktop or mobile device.
We began with the people. Who is trying to access what and how can we make that process as user-friendly as possible? After an audit, a complete understanding of the users, and a restructure of the entire content infrastructure, we crafted a new way for the school district to communicate with its audience using this medium.
It began with a living and breathing homepage that allowed direct access to the vast amount of content organized within the new structure. A single page now held value and meaning for the individual browsing the website, whether the user was a parent, a student, an employee or a community member peeking in. Content was not only valuable, but also attention grabbing. It engaged visitors to learn more and explore.
Continuing with the momentum we obtained, we needed to create a way to visually represent all the individual schools within the district. The solution was simple. An interactive Google map not only provided a visual representation of the district, but it also allowed users to interact with features such as street views and directions. Simple yet powerful.
Within the network lived each of the thirteen schools. The challenge in designing a subsite for each individual school is to keep the balance between consistency, efficiency, and individuallity. While we want each school to have its own identity, we needed all the subsites to exist under the structured network.
In our scenario, the majority of the content actually lived on the main district site, therefore we took the unique approach of adding a district-wide menu, which was always available and attainable but did not create a distraction.
We exceeded the districts expectations. Not only did we craft a brand new experience tailored to specific groups of people in a very wide audience, but we went further and ultimately built a robust foundation which the district can build upon in future projects.