Sask ECEC – or the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Education Council – are a not-for-profit Special Subject Council who are affiliated with the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation. The council, who are headquartered in Saskatoon and are made up of teachers, students, and parents have, for over 20 years, actively supported teachers to meet the needs of children throughout their primary years. Sask ECEC’s values include:
- Parents and teachers work together to nurture children’s development.
- Positive feelings of self-worth are central to each child fulfilling his/her unique potential (learning today and tomorrow).
- Each child is unique and has the right to acceptance and respect.
- Each child brings a uniqueness to each learning experience.
Prior to our involvement in the redesign of the Sask ECEC website, their previous website was archaic in appearance, lacked usability, and had become extremely frustrating for their website administrators to manage. This was down to the non-user friendly and proprietary CMS that had been developed for the website. Trust me – it was a nightmare to navigate both on the frontend and backend of the website.
Therefore, a complete redesign and redevelopment of the website was in order to provide a website that better engaged their users, was user friendly, and easy to manage. This started with the website navigation.
Site Map & Navigation
The previous – vertical – navigation was not easy-to-use at all and left most of their website users feeling “frustrated” as they were unable to easily locate the information they required. So sitting down with Sask ECEC’s project management team, we discussed and finalized a more linear navigation and site map with easy-to-use drop down sub-menu items.
Once complete we could then concentrate on creating the new design for the Sask ECEC website. As the Council’s primary objective is to “actively support teachers to meet the needs of children throughout their primary years”, and their audience is made up of both adults and students, the design had to be attractive and engaging to encompass all these elements.
After creating a variety of concepts, in collaboration with Sask ECEC’s project management team, the final design – as I’m sure you will agree – is reflective of a design that is both for adult and child audiences.
The CMS for the previous site was, as previously mentioned, not easy-to-use at all. Therefore, it was important for us to provide a solution that would allow for their most non-tech savvy administrator to use the system and manage the website. I can attest that this was accomplished. However, with user engagement being key to this project, it was important that new functionality was created as well as improving some existing items.
One of the new additions to the website was the development of a members-only area. Although the previous site did have a members log-in, there was no privileged member-only area. However, in the redesign of the website it was important for Sask ECEC members to be rewarded with their own members-area with access to member-only information.
The improved functionality for the new website includes:
- News – their news is better displayed on the homepage as their 3 latest news stories are highlighted, and when clicked on will direct the user to an internal page with the full story.
- Events – they are able to display a list of their latest events including the date, the event name, and a brief description. When a user clicks on the event they are directed to an internal page where they can register and pay for an event – such as the Sask ECEC 2013 Fall Conference. A calender is also displayed on this page where users can scroll through to see upcoming future events.
- Blog – the blog has been redesigned so that it is consistent with the rest of the website, as well as reorganized so that its appearance is more in-line with how blogs are structured – unlike their previous blog.
- Social Media – links to their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts were integrated along with their Facebook feed present on the homepage.
With the new CMS now in place, their website administrators can now easily manage and update their website on a regular basis.
More information on Sask ECEC, their 2013 Fall Conference, and how you become a member can be found on the website. Alternatively you can contact them via the website too. However, before you go ahead and do that why not let us know your opinion of the new website and what you think to the design. You can leave your comments in the box below.