Early Years Nursery
Over a 2 week period, I was able to go from research to design and build a new responsive site for Early Years Nursery School to help improve lead generation.
Early Years Nursery School is an independent nursery based in Manchester. Since opening 25 years ago, they've relied on worth of mouth to drive business. However in the digital age, awareness amongst parents was low. The brief was to create a new mobile responsive site which reflected the nursery’s values and drove new customer enquires.
An audit of the current site revealed several issues that needed addressing:
A feature analysis on local competitors revealed the conventions for nursery sites and helped identify opportunities where Early Years could stand out.
To understand what's important for parents when choosing a nursery, I collected insights by:
The following themes emerged which would help me generate site content:
Concerns around going to a nursery with really young staff. They wanted the reassurance that working in a nursery is their true vocation rather than them doing it because they can’t do anything else.
Need to get the right balance between focussing on prepping kids for school vs. having fun while they still could. Everyone wanted a well rounded person and so promoting the nursery's extra curricular activities like Spanish class was going to be important.
Parents wanted nurseries to be transparent with their pricing
Taking a content-first approach, I created a narrative that addressed users' key concerns that I'd identified. The idea was to get parents to buy into the nursery’s philosophy and approach and showcase the staff's experience which the research had highlighted was important. Then we get into the detail with the activities section providing proof points to the philosophy of creating well-rounded individuals, and lastly I included more practical info e.g. opening times, contact details.
Unlike the competition, we decided to show prices on the site as we knew from the research that this transparency would help build trust.
Once the base content had been written, I made further refinements to incorporate SEO and tone of voice considerations. For example, to ensure the nursery was being positioned as down to earth, I changed 'Testimonials' to 'What our parents say' and changed 'Our Staff' to 'Our Family'.
With limited time and budget, I decided early on to use a bootstrap responsive grid so quickly sketched out the mobile wireframes and versions for tablet/ desktop based on the approved copy doc.
I developed a brand personality diagram following an interview with the client and reviewing the personalities that were being conveyed by competitors.
Next, I put together a moodboard with some inspiration as to how I could visually communicate this personality. I felt the hand drawn approach through paint strokes and type could help represent the warm, homely environment of the nursery.
Now I was inspired and ready to create the design elements for the site. I chose the yellow for its upbeat and energeric properties, which accurately reflects what it's like to be in the nursery. After researching several fonts, I settled on the hand drawn font 'Amatic' for the titles and 'Muli' for body copy because it's clean, modern and light nature contrasts well with the titles and is easy to read. In keeping with the home-made feel, I created my own speech mark and hamburger using illustrator.
I built the site using html, css and jquery using Bootstap for the responsive grid.
The site redesign dramatically improved engagement with time on site going from 1 min 30 secs to over 4 mins post-redesign. Also, by making the site SEO friendly, traffic via organic search rose by 47% (Apr 2014-Sept 2014 vs. April 2015-Sept 2015).
In the future, the very positive reviews from parents could be made more powerful through photos of parents or videos. Also, a gallery of photos showcasing the facilities would be beneficial as this is something the research revealed was important for parents.