Seattle Public Schools Website Redesign
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is engaged in a project to improve the user experience of our websites. The redesigned district and school websites will go live early August!
The project, which began in 2019, is centered around the user experience of our students and families. Thank you to the more than 4,000 students, staff, and families who provided feedback and helped guide this redesign!
New Website Features
- Prioritized key resources for students and families
- Mobile-friendly design
- Improved navigation
- Expanded multilingual translation services
- New colors and visual design inspired by the Pacific Northwest
- Artwork from local Northwest Coast Native Artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo, Squaxin/Skokomish
Throughout the phases of the project, there have been and will continue to be opportunities to share your voice and priorities.
The new design is based on user feedback with information gathered through interviews with students, families, community partners, and staff, surveys, usability testing, and website analytics. We are prioritizing engagement with students and families furthest from educational justice.
We are now in phase 4 of our project.
Phase 1 November – December: Interviews and focus groups with students and families furthest from educational justice, survey of all SPS website users, and web analytics review.
Phase 2 January – March: Navigation studies to discover logical navigation structure and webpage grouping (information architecture).
Phase 3 March – April: Design and development of look and feel with usability studies to ensure the navigation, categories, and design meet the needs of our families, students, staff, partners and broader community.
Phase 4 April – August: Content migration and new website goes live! New sites will go live in August.
About this Project
The SPS websites are the primary communication tool for staff and families and acts as the digital hub for district and school educational resources and information. Serving over 100 schools and close to 53,000 students, SPS sites need to work for students, current and prospective families, staff, and community members.
The project goals center user experience, and include: increase accessibility and community feedback in the final design, improve navigation and search functionality to help readers find resources, improve access with a mobile-first design, build a user-friendly system for content publishers, and provide a more stable web hosting environment – ensuring reliability of services and that our sites are ‘always on.’
What is included?
This project includes the district and school websites.
It will not change tools such as The Source, Schoology, or Clever the student portal.
Why are we making this change?
Providing consistent and predictable updates has been a challenge with the current website host and content management system (CMS).
The web services team is excited that the new system will provide ease of use for the district’s 500 editors who maintain the individual school sites, the SPS staff website, and the public district site.
Putting Students and Families First
The guiding question of the redesign is “How do we design a web experience that centers the goals, needs, and challenges of students and families who are furthest from educational justice?”
By unapologetically centering the experience and engagement with students and families of Color, the project directly supports the goals of our strategic plan Seattle Excellence.
In November and December, our community participated in an all-call web survey that was translated into six languages. Nearly 4,000 total people participated.
The team also conducted a series of focus groups with middle and high school students, African American families, Native families, and families supported by Amharic, Cantonese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese interpreters. As well as interviews with staff and community-based organizations who support families furthest from educational justice.
Throughout the process, the web services team reengaged with these community members to share how their feedback was incorporated in the design and make sure the design responsive to families’ needs through user testing.
The web team will loop back with these same families in Fall 2021 and share another all-call website satisfaction and feedback survey to look for opportunities for improvement.
Key Redesign Priorities Based on User Research
- Navigation: improve navigation to make information easier to find.
- Content and Design: design needs to highlight important resources for students and families.
- Visuals and Icons: use more imagery and video to help readers find information.
- Language Support: Lack of translation or accurate translation of key content created confusion among users and put them in a position where they feel unsupported and at a disadvantage.
- Don’t Change Everything: Some resources such as the “Select a School” and location of the Student Family Portal link work well.