Ceres sought out See3 when it became clear that their constituents were becoming frustrated by their website's lack of usability.
At Ceres, sustainability is the bottom line. The nonprofit is one of the only sustainability organizations working with the most influential investors and companies in the world to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy.
But while clean energies are propelling businesses into the future, the Ceres website was metaphorically running on coal. It wasn’t mobile responsive, it failed to reflect the impressive scope of the organization’s work, and it was difficult to navigate through the large quantity of resources and content. Ceres staff felt increasing frustration handling the website internally, and their audiences - high-profile business leaders who expect ease of use and great design - felt choked by the fumes.
“Our website was extremely outdated,” explained Brian Sant, the Director of Digital Communications and Marketing at Ceres. “It hadn’t been redesigned since around 2007. It was just not engaging for new or existing users.”
A website is the centerpiece of an organization’s digital strategy. It needs to both embody the mission of the organization and speak to the values and desires of the intended audience. With this charge in mind, Ceres engaged See3 to redesign their website from top to bottom.
The Ceres audience needed a modern, clean design that reflected the organization’s corporate-aligned work and made it easy for visitors to navigate through their plethora of toolkits, reports, updates, member-only resources, and other content. Building the site on Drupal 8 ensured not only a great user experience, but also made it easy for Ceres staff to regularly upload new content, including images, video, and podcasts, on a daily basis (without having to bring in an outside developer).
Brian noted, “Communication was very clear throughout the process, especially with the help of See3’s FRS (functional requirements specification), which allowed us to refer back and understand exactly what we could do with our new website.”
In addition, See3 helped Ceres create an entirely new Information Architecture (IA) and sitemap that streamlined the nonprofit’s content and kept the new website audience-focused. This included making recommendations based on website performance metrics for removing outdated or unpopular pages and reorganizing content based on audience engagement and interests.
New websites equal a lot of new content, which can be overwhelming for organizations to both create and organize. To ease this burden, See3 created webpage templates, so that Ceres staff could get a head start on creating and editing copy for new pages while the development team worked on constructing the new site. That way, Ceres was able to quickly upload new content and keep the launch on schedule. More importantly, the ease of use meant Ceres staff could focus on creating quality content that drove their mission forward and added value to their audience.
“The new information architecture that was built off of our new branding strategy made us rethink the programs and sectors we at Ceres impact. We are now able to put more focus on our most impactful stories without diluting our website with too much content.” - Brian Sant
Ceres unveiled the new website at Ceres Conference 2017, and the response from audiences and staff was overwhelmingly positive.
“We have gotten great feedback from our constituents on how our site is much more visually appealing and easier to navigate. It has become simpler for our digital team to share content as Drupal brings images and key messages with it when sharing links on social media,” Brian said. “The digital team is now much more disciplined in understanding that we can’t just share anything on our website; that is not what it’s for.”
The new website better reflects the organization’s mission and goals, is more engaging for audiences, and is easier for staff to update. And that’s a great strategy for sustainability.