Sheffield Girls' School.
Working with Sheffield Girls' School, we designed, developed and built a brand new site to increase engagement with potential new students and parents by showcasing the benefits of the tailored education each child receives.
- Sheffield High School for Girls
- Who they are
- One of 24 independent schools and two Academies in the UK belonging to the Girl's Day School Trust.
- What they do
- Provide an independent education for girls aged 4-18 and boys and girls aged 3-4 in pre-school.
- Design and build a new website based on the needs of new and existing parents and students in line with the Sheffield Girls' School new branding.
Sheffield Girls’ School (SGS) required a website that reflected their new look and acted as a recruitment tool for prospective students and their parents. It needed to clearly communicate the benefits of an independent education whilst also showing how that education is accessible through various routes. One of the key goals was to encourage visitors to make appointments to visit the school in person.
The new website has a user journey that helps parents envisage their daughter's school life at SGS, showcasing all the things of which the school is proud. By taking into account parent and student needs, the site demonstrates the benefits of an independent education whilst still allowing the SGS marketing team to easily update and add content.
“This wasn’t a project I was particularly looking forward to embarking on as we’d had problems with our previous website company, but from the outset Hive were just different. They really wanted to understand us and how the website would fit into our organisation and the marketing activity. As soon as we started the project, I knew things were going to run smoothly – and they really did.”Amy Bouchier
Working out who was going to use the new website was key to a successful approach. We sat down with the main stakeholders and developed detailed personas. These were then used as we designed the new website and to inform the wider marketing strategy for SGS. This user-focused approach was carried through from our initial user workshops to prototyping and development.
We developed detailed personas with SGS over two days by working through user research exercises. We then mapped the user journeys of those personas to establish where and how they would be coming into contact with the website, and then looking at how we could meet their needs.
We next used pen and paper to sketch our ideas for the new website, temporarily putting aside technical barriers. This produced some great results, informed the design of the prototype and gave us an idea of our clients expectations.
After the workshops, our designer got to work on prototyping a design for the new website using Webflow. With Webflow, we showed the client what their website could look like within a matter of days.
We were able to build the website layout and example content in clean, semantic code. We had a face-to-face meeting with SGS when first unveiling the prototype so that we could chat through any initial concerns or queries. Once everyone was happy, we were able to start development.
Content management system
The needs of the SGS marketing team were central to choosing a content management system. They needed a user friendly way to regularly upload different types of content, keeping the website fresh and maintaining user engagement. Potential future requirements also needed to be considered. We settled with Umbraco, as it is open source (so no license needed) and unrestricted by predefined templates. Its intuitive “backoffice” also allows the marketing team to easily add and update content.
Armed with the Webflow prototype code, we created a functioning website with Umbraco. We populated the site with dummy content and pushed this through our internal QA process. We met with SGS to explore every area of the site together. After handing over the site, SGS were happy to sit in our offices when populating the website with content so we immediately available if they had queries. This collaboration between Hive and SGS helped the entire project run smoothly.
We used the following tools and technology to develop the website:
- Webflow - Prototyping the design
- Umbraco - Content Management System
- Azure - Hosting
The finished product
The site went live in August 2017. It was on time and on budget, and is something we are all extremely proud of. SGS now have a visually appealing, user-focused web presence and the CMS puts Sheffield Girls’ marketing department in full control over content and maintenance.
In 2018 website traffic increased by 51% and Sheffield Girls' School received their highest number of applications since records began