It's impossible to overstate the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic had on education. Parents had to think more than ever about the education they wanted for their children. Do they feel more comfortable with them attending classes online or in person? Do they want to continue with a public school or consider private options? Unlike other times when parents may have been able to spend months preparing to make a decision, parents had to think and act quickly. The pressure to make a decision that will affect your child's life is incredible and parents rely more than ever on online research to guide their choice.
Schools were struggling to adapt themselves. Before the pandemic, they could rely on sending communications home with students and maintaining minimalistic websites that supported just their basic needs. Since private schools cater to two audiences — current students and their families and prospective students and their families — they've had to stay ahead in their digital presence.
Lutheran High School is no exception. Even before the pandemic, they kept ample resources on their website for anyone who needed them. However, to keep up with the increase in enrollment, Lutheran High School decided to take a bold move to capture the new demand with a cutting-edge website.
The Client: Lutheran High
Based in Parker, CO, Lutheran High School focuses on its students’ development not only academically but as individuals throughout their lives. Teachers know that these four years will be some of the most transformative in their students' lives. For that reason, they challenge them to grow and develop a passion for life that will continue into adulthood.
The staff here understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to providing students with opportunities for growth. The school's staff encourages students to join clubs, engage with their community, and inspire them to find what truly drives them in life. The involvement of their students’ parents is also a big focus for the school. By creating a framework where parents, teachers, and staff surround the students with support and guidance, they give them the best possible chance to succeed.
A Sea of Information
Lutheran High School invests substantial effort in providing resources for current students and their families as well as those who wish to enroll. Interestingly enough, this resulted in a sea of information that sometimes left their website users feeling overwhelmed about where to turn to find the information they needed. Users often felt like they needed extra guidance to navigate the wealth of resources at their disposal. And with even more visitors to their website after a shift from in-person to digital interactions, the need became more apparent than ever.
Current students had resources online, such as a tool to communicate tardiness and absences. Unfortunately, due to the wealth of information available on the site, the front office staff still found themselves inundated with calls and were also unsure of where to find the tools on their site. Lutheran High did not lack resources — however, their most useful ones needed room to shine.
Diverse Needs for Website Users
Another challenge that Lutheran High School faced was addressing the needs of all the users on its website. Not only did the website have to provide information for current students, but it also had to address the needs of their families. In addition, Lutheran High had to provide a clean user experience for prospective students and families looking for the information they needed to make the choice. This left them with four distinct types of users — current students, current students’ parents, prospective students, and prospective students’ parents — who all needed an optimal website experience.
A Complete Website Redesign
Some businesses can easily use pre-built website templates to address their needs. Lutheran High School was not one of them. Due to the variety of audiences that use their website and the wealth of resources they need, Lutheran High needed a completely custom website.
Above all other elements, two factors quickly emerged as the most important. The first vision for their website was that it would have two buttons on the homepage: one for current families and the other for prospective families. The second was a clear emphasis on their sports and extracurricular activities. In fact, the sports needed such an emphasis that there were discussions of even creating a separate website for them.
Before even stepping into the website design, the first task was to gather a list of all of the existing website pages. The selection of existing content Lutheran High had for these topics and audiences was ample. In fact, they had so much content that they would need to prioritize what would be kept and what would be archived. The content needed to be well-organized and easy to find, eliminating duplicate pieces and irrelevant content.
Once the necessary content had been prioritized, it was time to create a wireframe. This wireframe would model how the website's layout and navigation would appear to its users. The completed wireframes and navigation were sent over to some of the school's current students and teachers in order to understand if it served their needs and where the design could be improved.
Why invest so much effort into the testing? Because what makes sense for one person may not make sense for everyone.
The next step was to find a way to make the school’s athletic department stand out. Creating an entirely separate website would distance them from the rest of the school, so they needed to stay on the same site but show their unique abilities. To address the athletic department’s interests, the development team modified the design and fonts used to complement the rest of the site’s style. The end result was a complimentary but independent section of the website that showcased the school’s athletic teams and programs.
After that was the final design and development of the website. For this, ClearPivot’s development team built the site from the ground up to match its unique design needs. In order to show the client what the website would look like, they built out the whole site on a staging server using the HubSpot CMS Content Staging tool. After the technical development, they published it to the live website’s domain after it was ready to go.
The most important website feature was the school’s calendar. The challenge was to design a calendar centered on the current date when users opened the page, and that filtered the extracurricular activities. Since there was no pre-built module that could perform functions like these, ClearPivot’s development team used a mixture of HubSpot’s built-in features and custom coding to create it.
Lutheran High already had what it took to attract people to its website. What they lacked before in their design was the means to delight their current customers and retain students throughout their high school careers. The main goal was to make the website easier to use, and significantly more appealing and high-quality as well. So, did it work?
The answer is yes! The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. People love the new website. So much so, in fact, that shortly after the redesign was launched, school administrators found themselves getting stopped in the halls by students and their families to tell them how much the website experience has improved. With satisfied users and team members, Lutheran High is happy to report that their website redesign was a resounding success.
You can see the full new Lutheran High School website here. Or take a look at a screenshot of the new homepage we designed below: