Elk Hill is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children and families transform overwhelming challenges into successful futures. Elk Hill began 45 years ago in Goochland as a home for troubled boys and has since grown to serve over 500 boys and girls through group homes, alternative schools, and community-based mental and behavioral health services throughout the Richmond, Charlottesville and Goochland areas. Through these programs, children – supported by their families – can discover the academic, vocational, behavioral, and relationship skills they need to thrive.
We partnered with Elk Hill to help solve the problems they and their users experienced with their website. The site was built 5 years ago and didn’t capture the sense of place, space and perspective of their beautiful property. The site’s written and visual language didn’t adequately tell their story and give users a sense of who they are and how incredible the work they do is. The site’s architecture was confusing, and moving around through the site was a challenge, especially on smaller screens. Additionally, they were unable to edit the content of their website. Armed with this information, we were able to clearly formulate the goals for the redesign project to inform our plan to solve the problem.
Through our discovery and strategic process, we discovered several gaps in the site’s content and architecture and created a plan with Elk Hill to restructure the site. During the restructuring, we were able to provide additional areas for Elk Hill to tell their story through Success Stories and Leadership profiles.
We began the design by enhancing their current color and type palettes to elevate them to a more vibrant and modern standard. The use of color is an important element of the site’s design, and we wanted to ensure the colors had strong impact, but more importantly, that they embodied the vibrancy and energy of Elk Hill. The updated palette was then expanded upon with a variety of visual elements; beautiful photography of their facilities and staff and gradient overlays provided the cohesion and impact we wanted for their site.
Building a responsive site that gave them the freedom to control all of their information was a top priority, and we leveraged WordPress to provide them with the ability to edit their content, adjust modules such as targeted calls-to-action, and populate the site with real-time information featured prominently — most notably the weather closing alerts bar and important announcements area on the home page.
In the first two months after launching the new site:
- Decreased site Bounce Rate by 8.31%
- Increased Pages per Session by 29.45%
- Increased Pageviews by 7.10%
- Donation Conversion Rate – 7.5%
- Increased Total Holiday Season Online Donations by 100%
- Increased traffic to the Alumni and Careers pages, helping Elk Hill provide a lifetime of support to their alumni and hire talent to support their strong growth
As designers and developers, our careers don’t necessarily afford us the opportunities to be involved in directly positively impacting people’s lives that those who choose to go into fields such as nursing, social work or teaching experience. Working with Elk Hill gave us the opportunity to leverage our expertise and skills to be a part of a greater effort and to help extend Elk Hill’s impact beyond their campuses. Projects like Elk Hill’s site are incredibly rewarding, and we are thrilled to have been a part of the process and to have Elk Hill on the team.