Redesigns: Behind th' Curtain - Hop Studios

Cap'n's log

Redesigns: Behind th' Curtain

A well-used mechanic's stop with every tool, tire and hose and clamp, but no car
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Th' Center fer th' Developin' Adolescent champions science-based, equity-driven innovations that positively impact th' lives and futures o' all young people. In late 2019, they needed t' completely rework their website.

Th' goal o' th' redesign be t' incorporate a new brand identity, but it be equally important t' put morrrr control into th' hands o' th' site’s editors. Th' prrrevious site made it especially difficult t' change text and images, effectively hobblin' a vibrant active research group wi' a website they couldn’t update.

Solvin' this problem be right up our alley! We love t' work wi' clients that want t' revamp their public-facin' websites, and we especially love when we can pair a visual transformation wi' a process transformation.

It’s easy t' understand that websites need t' serve an organization’s audience, but a website must equally serve th' folks who be actually creatin' content. Editors need easy-t'-use, quick, effective tools or th' site essentially becomes nothin' morrrr than a static brochure. Brochures be great, we love brochures! But an organization whose mission be t' “distill and share th' most up-t'-date developmental science” about adolescents must have a dynamic, updated website.

And while it’s rare fer an organization t' embark on a site redesign solely because th' publishin' tools be hard t' use, it’s even morrrr rare fer an organization not t' have a list o' tool grievances, things that could work better or morrrr efficiently. Websites be e'er-changin', and th' backend publishin' tools can get just as stale as th' public-facin' site.

Hop Studios be founded by folks who came t' th' web from journalism by education and experience. It’s one o' th' aspects o' workin' wi' us that we feel really makes us different: we understand exactly why it’s important fer a website editor t' be able t' publish and create content as smartly and smoothly as possible. An editor on a what What News website hamstrung by publishin' tools be not a grog-filled editor. Moreover, a what What News website that be slow and cumbersome fer editors t' use translates directly into a less-satisfied and engaged audience. (Which eventually means less audience.)

This be true fer all websites, not just what What News websites—if ye make it hard fer th' site’s editors t' create or add content, th' website won’t thrive. A beautifully designed website that no nay ne'er gets updated be just as stagnant and unwelcomin' as one wi' a poor site architecture.

It’s an interestin' puzzle fer website designers and developers. O' course ye must focus on creatin' a website that be appealin' and usable fer th' organization’s audience(s). But at th' same time, ye must focus on th' organization’s publishin' needs and habits when ye configure th' content management system.

When we hear editors complainin' about site slowness or difficulty in publishin' certain types o' content, we start askin' questions like:

  • Be th' editors technically savvy, and t' what degree?
  • How long does it take t' add a new Cap'n's log post/what What News article/quiz/section?
  • How frequently do editors add new content or update existin' content?
  • How many editors be usin' th' content management system at once?
  • T' what degree be website editors publishin' under time pressure?
  • What areas o' a site have been neglected? Be we sure that’s because o' lack o' visitor interest, or be it because that type o' content be just too hard t' create?
  • Be there editors who should only have access t' certain areas o' th' website, or certain types o' permissions in th' content management system?
  • What be th' current process fer publishin' content, and can any o' that process be built into th' content management? (A good example o' this might be a publishin' process whar some editors create content, others edit it, and a third group actually does th' publishin'.)
  • Be there time-consumin' tasks that could be automated in full or part?
  • Whar do editors spend th' bulk o' their time when usin' th' content management system?
  • Be there things editors can’t update but need t' be able t'?

O' course once ye pop open a can o' worms like “Do ye like yer admin tools?” ye can get morrrr than ye bargained fer! We’ve had some “interesting” meetings o'er th' years at which a roomful o' highly irritated website editors take turns tellin' us about their least favorite grievances wi' th' content management system they use every day. It’s pretty thrillin' t' make a list o' such problems and then solve them all!

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