Lessons from a Website Overhaul

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Re-launching a brand new educationpioneers.org required a significant investment of time and resources. Not surprisingly, we learned a lot along the way. Here are some of our key takeaways—and how they might apply to your work.

Key Takeaway #1: Audiences Matter. It’s important to listen directly to your stakeholders to ensure you’re making user-centered solutions.

Nothing matters more than figuring out exactly how and why your visitors use your site. After all, it’s tough to meet audiences’ needs without identifying what those needs are first. We started with user interviews with our key audiences: prospective EP Fellows and our partner education organizations. What we learned during interviews guided our site overhaul. For our prospective Fellows, we provided stories that show that EP is the path to meaningful, powerful work. And for our current and future partner organizations, we shared examples of how EP can be their strategic source for exceptional, diverse leaders.

Key Takeaway #2: Stories Matter. Figure out the best method to share out the successes and results from your work—and do more of that.

We hear it time and time again from prospective candidates and champions: what does education leadership and management look like? The best and clearest way we can answer that question is with a story. We’ve included a lot more stories in the new educationpioneers.org to make it clearer what this work is and why it matters—and we even built a new home for future tales (this blog!).

Key Takeaway #3: A Diverse Working Group Matters. Include multiple voices and perspectives in your work; the collaboration will make your work stronger.

From the beginning, we convened a diverse working group of EP staff members to reimagine and launch the new educationpioneers.org. With representatives from different departments, with distinct roles, and diverse personal and professional backgrounds, we received a fantastic amount of input and insights to help the Marketing & Communications team ensure we were building a site that would be a useful tool for everyone across our network. We didn’t always agree (and that was the point), but it helped us make a better website.

Key Takeaway #4: Testing Matters. Don’t expect things to be perfect the first time—constructive feedback (and bug-finding!) will get you to a more robust end product.

To create an interactive and visually appealing site that works across browsers and devices, there’s a significant amount to test. And retest. We went through multiple rounds of prototyping and testing with our great website agency to ensure that we have a smooth and intuitive user experience for all our visitors.

Key Takeaway #5: There’s No Finish Line. And there shouldn’t be one; innovation requires constant learning and updating.

A website is – and should be – a dynamic tool that constantly offers something new and something of value to everyone who visits it. To ensure that educationpioneers.org meets that goal, we’ll continue to add features and functionality to our site. Stay tuned…there’s more to come!

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