École Mondiale, the #1 international school in Mumbai, boasts world-class facilities, state-of-art infrastructure and an innovative and integrated approach to learning.
Sadly, this was not quite reflected on their old website. Following a series of successful presentations to the marketing team and management board, Pigtail Pundits was awarded the contract to create the new website for Ecole Mondiale.
We analyzed their website. It was fraught with designing and programming errors that required immediate resolution. The website was visually cluttered and lacked focus in its offering.The old website had to go and the new professionally designed one had to improve Ecole Mondiale's status, as well as boost admissions.
The redesign of the Ecole Mondiale International School website?
We held initial consultation sessions with staff and the school put together a small steering group of interested teachers to share their own ideas, for how the website could work. A key outcome of the initial sessions was to ensure the new website engaged with parents and family members and really demonstrated the lively nature of the school.
We also looked at models for University/ School websites on the web, that provided us with few insights. We learned that most Indian International school websites were poorly constructed. Even internationally, school websites don’t show great maturity in communications and architecture.
College websites in the US, perhaps operating in a more competitive space for students, displayed some of the best models to emulate, for websites in this category.
We started with a few challenges. How do we create a world-class website that is optimized to sell Ecole Mondiale to prospective students and their parents? How do we make the website a talking point amongst parents/ students and the faculty? How do we measure admissions, brochure downloads, over a period of time and ensure optimum visitor to sales conversions? How do we re-architect the navigation with an effective persuasion structure for successful conversions.
The New Intuitive Architecture
The key was to do something different from any school, or college website out there.Yet, carefully craft within that uniqueness, the singular characteristics of Ecole Mondiale - a focus on academics and sports.
Muted colours, simple and clear typography and use of white space are all used as a means to engage users and lead them through the website. This also helps the site feel alive as it serves up dynamic content enriching pages and encourages interaction.
Adding Meaning to Academics
The Academics pages are the true selling point of the website. It needs to be more illustrative than text heavy. We decided that these pages should be amongst of the richest visually.
Content here was organized into clear categories. Course subjects were formatted with good use of headings, paragraphs, images, image slideshows to break up the content rhythm into digestible visual chunks. It comprised key information that parents usually need, organized heirarchically.
Simplying the Navigation
Having to navigate through layers of nested menus before reaching real content is frustrating on the web.
Navigation should be based on what's most important, valuable to your audience.
This makes the maintenance of the menu far easier, especially if the primary and secondary menu content is closely related. The main site’s navigation system implemented a mega-drop down menu, helping visitors find information that’s located several levels deep at one click.
Visualizing Campus Life
Page layout is clean and easy to browse. There is visual hierarchy on this page. We have put thought to the elements that forms the page, to show information elegantly, without overloading the visitor. We have put together a gallery of images showing students at various activities at the school. The copy does not talk about world class facilities but how the facilities benefit the students.
Why Choose Ecole Mondiale
The new site shows deliberate thought and design to the Value Proposition Page.
It's extensively illustrated and gives clear reasons why a parent, or prospective student should choose Ecole Mondiale over other international schools. On the old site, this page was just a dump of copy sans facts.
Envisioning the Admissions Section
The key thing here was to address decision factors such as cost of programmes, location and ranking. The Admissions page of Ecole Mondiale' shows deliberate structure with clear calls to action. Important links to pages related to Admissions are flagged up front.
The Value Proposition, or why students should choose Ecole Mondiale, is flagged. The site footer that gives out quick links to all the other sections of the site. The focus throughout the site is on what's in it for a parent/ child.
The Choice of a Content Management System
There are million ways to make a website. To choose the best one that supports all the features of a new site was not an easy task. The revamped website was built on WordPress with WooCommerce and Gravity Forms for fee payment. A slew of plugins take care of search engine optimization, performance optimization,
Training & Support
We trained Ecole Mondiale staff on how to manage the web site on their own - add pages, edit existing pages. That gave them flexibility to manage their own content in a variety of ways and for the website to evolve over time.
Since the site launched in January 2014, metrics show that user engagement has dramatically increased. Average page views and length of visits have doubled. Conversion rates on the website have gone up to 25% and we know for sure it’s only going to get bigger and better.
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