Website Redesign

Sheffield Girls' School

Sheffield Girls Generic Logo Cmyk

Hive IT were approached by Sheffield Girls' School to help them redesign their existing website. Together, we designed, developed and built a brand new site that aims to increase engagement with potential new students and parents by showcasing the benefits of the tailored education each child receives. We took a user centred approach in order to make informed design decisions and help Sheffield Girls’ School reach their goals.

the challenge

Following a rebranding exercise Sheffield Girls’ School required a website that not only reflected their new fresh look but also acted as a recruitment tool for prospective students and their parents. It was important for the new site to communicate clearly the benefits of an independent education whilst also showing how that education is accessible through various routes. One of the key goals is to convert visitors to the site into making appointments to visit the school in person.

the result

The new website showcases all the things that Sheffield Girls’ School is proud of, with space for great imagery and a user journey that helps parents envisage what their daughter’s school life will be like. By taking into account parent and student needs we have been able to design and build a site that demonstrated the benefits of an independent education whilst giving the Sheffield Girls' School marketing team a platform to update content with ease. 

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
Director of Marketing - SGS
student id human heads profiles
1.

approach

Spending time working out who was going to be using the new website has been a key factor of a successful approach. We sat down with the main stakeholders and developed detailed personas that could be used as we designed the new website and across the wider marketing strategy for Sheffield Girls’ School. This user focused approach was carried through from our initial user workshops to prototyping, development and our choice of content management system (CMS).

user journey workshop meeting
2.

Workshops

We spent two days working through various user research exercises with Sheffield Girls’ School to develop detailed personas. We then mapped the user journeys those personas would take, to establish where and how they would be coming into contact with the website. And we looked at ways in which we could meet those user needs.

Next we moved on to sketching. We used pen and paper to sketch out some of our ideas for the new website without any technical barriers at this stage. It produced some great results, really helped inform the prototype and gave us an idea of our clients expectations.

website prototypes
3.

Prototypes

After two days of workshops our designer was able to get to work on prototyping a design for the new website, using a tool called Webflow. By using Webflow in this way we were able to show 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 made sure that we had a face to face meeting with Sheffield Girls’ School when demonstrating the prototype for the first time so that we could chat through any initial concerns or queries. Once everyone was happy we were able to then pass that code over to our developer.

figure on computer with graphs testing illustration
4.

Content Management System

When choosing the right CMS it was important to consider the user needs of the marketing team at Sheffield Girls’ School. They needed a user friendly way of being able to upload different types of content on a regular basis to keep the website fresh and maintain user engagement. We also needed to consider some of the future requirements the school may want to implement. Because of this we chose Umbraco. Umbraco is open source so license free, unrestricted by pre defined templates and provides the intuitive “backoffice” function required to meet the needs of the marketing team.

Our developer was able to take the code from the Webflow prototype and build it up to become a reality in Umbraco. We populated the site with dummy content and pushed this through our internal QA process. We met with Sheffield Girls’ School to release the site for User Acceptance Testing making sure that we took the time to explore every area of the site as a team. This walk through was a really important stage. After handing over the site, Sheffield Girls’ School were happy to sit in our offices for some of their own content population so that we were on hand if they had any initial questions. Its this level of collaboration between Hive and Sheffield Girls’ School that has helped the entire project run so smoothly.

5.

The finished product

The new site went live in August 2017. On time and On budget, and is something we are all extremely proud of. Sheffield Girls’ School now have a visually appealing, user focused web presence and the CMS puts Sheffield Girls’ marketing department in full control over content and maintenance.

We do not feel our job is complete until we have measured KPIs and proved return on investment, so watch this space. 

Sheffield Girls School laptop mockup
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