Ecology Project International

Content Strategy and Organization

Challenge

Ecology Project International is a non-profit organization that engages local communities around the world to take an active role in conservation. They also send U.S. high school students on immersive, educational courses to diverse locations such as Costa Rica, the Galapagos, and Belize. To EPI, the task of redesigning their website was daunting: they needed to address a large number of users with very different priorities (donors, parents, teachers, students, administrators, potential partners, etc.). Their current site housed an overwhelming amount of content to organize and prioritize, and current users were getting lost and confused in their experience. To solve these problems and lead these initiatives, they came to Studio Simpatico (formerly Tamara Olson Designs).

Process

To begin our process, we conducted a content audit of the existing site and met with the EPI staff to understand their goals, business objectives, and content priorities for the new site. We conducted interviews with internal stakeholders, as well as all types of users listed above. From the interviews, we created user personas and distilled these personas to identify and prioritize goals and ideal workflows for each user type.

“Tamara was the first step in our long website overhaul journey. In many ways, these first steps – figuring out what you and your staff need, interviewing your users to figure out what they need, and putting all that information into a plan that will work for everyone – are the the most grueling part of a website redesign. However, Tamara made it completely painless. She’s not only incredibly good at sussing out your needs and creating a stellar plan, but her process is clear, so going through each step is easy. She’s super flexible, and no matter what we asked of her, she was prepared to help us get where we wanted to be. The tools she used made it easy for us to provide feedback, and her willingness to meet several times with our whole team meant that we were always on the same page. We have a huge website with lots of facets (non-profit donation side, retail side, trip planning elements, and several extremely different audiences with different needs), and Tamara made it all come together seamlessly, which made the rest of the redesign process easier. I cannot recommend Tamara more highly.”

Rachael Caldwell, Ecology Project International

Site Map and Wireframes

Based on all of the data, we developed a comprehensive site map to organize all content at a high level. Each box represents a different page or series of pages on the site, and the site map shows how they fit together. Once the site map was finalized, we created 56 page-by-page wireframes, which lay out the content and features for each page in detail (based on our own design expertise as well as interaction design preferences articulated by the EPI staff during the discovery phase). The final deliverables (site map and wireframes) were handed off to design and development. The site was designed and developed by Six Pony Hitch, and is live at ecologyproject.org.