Arrell Food Institute
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Arrell Food Institute
How we solved a content sharing barrier for an educational food institute associated with the University of Guelph
The institute’s website couldn’t handle high levels of content production
The Arrell Food Institute’s old website was simply not built for volume. Users found it difficult to find the information they needed and were frustrated by the website’s confusing structure. While it may have suited a smaller organization’s site, its growing content load was starting to create logistical issues for the institute’s technical team. Website administrators struggled to organize new content due to a lack of sections, meaning users frequently got lost in a labyrinth of pages. Meanwhile, the confusing structure of the site meant that new content was poorly promoted.
The Arrell Food Institute’s prolific research profile and high content production was undoubtedly good news for the organization. However, the volume of technical problems on the institute’s site negatively affected their analytics reports. With bounce rates increasing, the organization reached out to us to find a workable solution.
Helping users find the cutting-edge research they need
The Arrell Food Institute’s scholarly output is valuable to a range of stakeholders, including academics, students, policy makers, corporate partners, local community leaders, and more. Their vital work aims to help these stakeholders make better food-related decisions and do their bit to make the world a fairer and more sustainable place.
Of course, the content high-level academics require differs significantly from that tailored toward students or members of the public. With this in mind, part of our challenge was to ensure website users are guided toward the content that suits their needs. To achieve this, we knew we would have to restructure the site so the Arrell Food Institute’s administrative team could upload content to relevant sections and point users in the right direction. With clearly labeled sections, users would be able to find relevant information, thereby reducing bounce rates and enhancing the profile of the institute.
The bottom line? Content would have to be maintainable as well as accessible. The structure of the site would have to be scalable so that users were still able to navigate its sections in five years or even more.
STRATEGY AND GOAL
Outline, analyze, reorganize, and restructure the entire website
Before we could start redesigning the site, we realized we would have to account for all existing content by mapping the site’s various sections. This strategy would help us to pinpoint existing issues with site functionality and enhance user experiences.
Our team analyzed which pages were receiving the highest number of hits and the reasons behind their apparent popularity. We then reorganized the institute’s web content in a way that aligned with audience needs and priorities. Finally, we restructured the website to ensure it remains accessible and maintainable for many years to come.
USER EXPERIENCE STRATEGY
Seamless user journeys and easy navigation
During the project, we worked hard to ensure all web pages were structured with UX principles in mind. In other words, we designed to site to be navigable and clear. Whether users are interested in finding out more about COVID-19’s effect on the global food system or simply want to discover about the Arrell Food Institute’s employees, our restructure ensures that such information is easily available. Thanks to our restructuring, users can reach most of the institute’s web pages within a few simple clicks.
Warm and inviting esthetics
Our team loves to create stunning sites that align with clients’ missions. For the Arrell Food Institute, we felt that a pared-back color palette and agricultural esthetic suited the organization’s eco-friendly aims. As you’ll see if you visit the website, the overall effect is one that demonstrates the institute’s positivity, ethical commitments, and innovative nature.
To ensure the scalability of this attractive final product, we created adaptable design elements that can be reused and realigned to accommodate site upgrades or additional features. We were acutely aware, after all, that the institute aims to grow and evolve in line with its ambitious research plans.
Custom templates to help the institute maintain consistency
Esthetic and functional consistency is vital for any organization that plans to expand and evolve relatively fast. To help the Arrell Food Institute future-proof its website, we developed several intuitive design templates designed to make content uploads easier than ever before. We based our templates on the design elements used for the site restructure and informed the Arrell team about how to operate the site going forward.