Over time the GACRS website became a burden instead of a benefit to its staff and families due to an unmaintained Joomla platform, confusing user interface, and non-functioning resources section.
As always, SHERPA applied UX content strategy and best practices that considered both internal and external users' needs with an eye toward saving resources by improving efficiency.
SHERPA launched a redesigned GACRS.org that works for the organization instead of creating more work with a simplified, intuitive user interface and learning management system (LMS).
The Georgia Center for Resources & Support (GACRS) strengthens and sustains Georgia's adoptive and foster families.
Branding & Messaging / Information Architecture / Performance / Technology Audit / UI Design / UX Best Practices / WordPress Development / WordPress Maintenance
Built on an outdated Joomla platform, the GACRS website became unstable due to a lack of maintenance and presented the organization with a critical security risk.
Feedback from the families GACRS serves revealed a confusing and frustrating user interface. When families could not find the information or complete the tasks they expected on the site, they urgently leaned on GACRS staff for help with the simplest tasks, straining internal resources.
In addition, SHERPA saw an opportunity to create global brand cohesion between GACRS and other Families First digital properties by updating the visual design and integrating shared design patterns into the user interface.
In SHERPA's experience, a successful redesign always begins with the user. If the user doesn't find the information or the interaction they expect, they become frustrated and leave the site.
Stakeholder interviews sparked SHERPA to thoughtfully reconsider the information architecture to match user language and where they expect to find what they need.
With the redesign occurring during the pandemic, SHERPA suggested leveraging Zoom to host virtual meetings and live webinars and implementing a learning management system (LMS) for self-paced, on-demand courses.
Although SHERPA could have just fixed the broken links in the resources section, instead, it envisioned a resources section filtered by meaningful categories that GACRS staff could update as needed.
Finally, SHERPA discussed the idea of a lending library where Georgia families could borrow books by mail for free.
The robust and redesigned GACRS.org now empowers families to educate themselves quickly, attend virtual live meetings, find accurate, relevant resources in their area, and take advantage of related books—while reducing reliance on GCARS staff.
Now built on a WordPress platform, the GACRS site is stable, maintained regularly, and no longer a security risk.
SHERPA's brand style guide integrates GACRS brand elements with that of Families First and its other digital properties. The redesigned site shares common design patterns, e.g., navigation, left drawer with links to other digital properties, buttons, etc.
By simplifying the information architecture, SHERPA crafted site navigation that matched user expectations and increased findability, thus, decreasing the need to contact GACRS staff for assistance.
With the LMS, adoptive and foster families can access self-paced, on-demand certification courses with real-time quizzes and an automatically graded assessment.
Introducing Zoom lets GACRS conduct live meetings and training during the pandemic, allowing staff to maintain vital connections with families while increasing their reach across Georgia.
Families can now filter resources by categories that matter to them and display the results on a map, instantly seeing which are closest.