This online platform has been a big project spanning across 12 months. The aim of the project was to develop an online platform targeted at rural grade 5 and 6 students to extend a 90 minute workshop run in classrooms in rural schools that is focused around aspiration, resilience and connection.
The website was conceptualized as a way to foster connection in students and give them a space to connect to rural young people who have completed their secondary education and allow them to ask questions about transitioning to secondary college and also to open the eyes of grade 5 and 6 students to the opportunities that they may pursue after they complete their education.
I was employed at the beginning of 2019 as project coordinator and had full control and responsibility of the project, from design and ideation through to the delivery and implementation of the completed website. This was a big job and involved managing many aspects of the project at once and overcoming challenges as they arose.
The first step for the project was finding a developer to assist us in building the eventual online platform, I ran workshops with our team to define the scope of the project and discuss the sort of things we might like to include in the platform and then developed this into a brief. As the project was for a not for profit organisation we had to work hard to find a developer that could deliver everything we wanted in a very small budget.
Once we had our developer I began working on refining our scope and breaking down the exact content that would be delivered in the platform. This involved a lot of brainstorming and I used affinity diagrams to break the ideas into categories, identify common themes and determine the best option in terms of a site structure.
Brainstorm to determine the best avenue for the website’s functionality
All our ideas before being grouped and organised
Final grouping of ideas to form site structure
These ideas were then compiled into a sitemap which more clearly showed the scope and deliverables for the project.
Final Sitemap for the website.
The next step was to begin designing the platform, I designed two options and then showed them to students to see which would be more effective. The aim of both of these designs was to appeal to the target audience and to appear unique so as to stand out and spark intrigue in the users.After testing with a number of schools it was almost unanimous among them that the first option (below) was the preferred design.
Designs used for user testing to determine which style of website the students preferred
This project also had a lot of risk to manage, as we were developing a platform aimed at children I had to design it in a way that we could ensure they would be safe using the platform but without limiting the functionality we wanted to offer them. This was a challenging process but one that I overcame through developing an on-boarding process that would allow users only to sign up to the platform if they were from a school we had visited with the workshop, using a unique code given to the teachers during the sign up process.
Another aspect of this project that added some complexity was that due to our small budget, part of the platform was to be built by me using WordPress and the other part by developers. This meant that we had to have a really clear design direction so that the transition between the two sites was seamless and the user experience felt like they were both a part of the same website.
Example of the WordPress pages of the website
This website is still in the final stages of completion but should be launched soon and introduced to schools very shortly.
Example of the custom developed modules of the website