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ENGAGING SCHOOL WEBSITES

Creating a thoughtful and creative school website begins before you upload a single photo.

“I was truly impressed with Schoolyard’s discovery process. The type of questions you asked and the level of thinking we had to do really encouraged and complemented the kind of reflection we do as a school, and helped us make decisions and move forward with creating the site that we wanted and needed.”  — Meghan Williams, Burgundy Farm School

We used to surf the web as a fun activity; these days fun has become absolute function, as we conduct more and more of our lives online. Whether it’s a prospective family or a current one, they expect to get the information we need quickly and efficiently — even if that “information” is something intangible, like a sense of the school’s vision and personality.

At the same time, we want to connect deeply with each other, to move beyond shallow interactions. Nowhere is this more true than in our choice of schools for our children. This means that, even more than colors and page layout, what matters is conveying the deep value of your school for your families — helping them set their hearts on your school from the very beginning.

The Schoolyard Discovery Process will help you think about your key messages, points of difference, and the action you want each visitor to take next. We’ll also help advise you on how to gather and create content, so you’re ready to fill your pages with compelling words and images.

Be more than smart... be wise as well.

Wisdom is knowledge that helps us live by our values. Your families are looking for a school that aligns with their convictions about what’s truly important in life; that’s why they’re willing to invest thousands of dollars each year. To attract the families that will thrive at your school, your website needs to be more than smart. It needs to be wise.

This may sound like an ambitious goal for a website, but in fact it makes things simpler, by giving you a lens through which you can focus your project.

The Schoolyard process

1. Onboarding

Starting with a kickoff call, an onboarding packet, and a little homework, we'll set you up with your Schoolyard plan for the next 16 weeks.

 

2. Discovery

Before we jump into building your site, we'll take some time to dig into the details of what’s important to your school and to your target audience. We will also introduce you to the design patterns and Schoolyard Builder components from which your site will be built.

 

3. Information Architecture (IA)

Working collaboratively, we will plan out the informational structure of your site, both to ensure that your navigation flow is understandable and to make specific information easy to locate. Once the IA has been finalized, our site builders will create the necessary pages on the website and build out the site navigation.

 

4. Live Mockups

During a video call with our in-house designer, you will have the opportunity to view our templates in action and also to see how a page is created using the Schoolyard Builder, our WYSIWYG drag-and-drop visual editor. We’ll also introduce you to the design options for your own header and footer. Using these elements as a starting point, you will see both the “how-to” and the “why” as a customized Builder page comes together from start to finish.

 

5. Training & Content Entry

Over the course of six 1-hour training sessions, you will become familiar with the back-end functionality of your new website and the powerful capabilities of the Schoolyard Builder, so that you can enter content and lay it out beautifully at the same time. Trainings will be spaced out over the course of four weeks so that you will have the opportunity to put what you have learned in each training session into practice before moving on to the next topic.

 

6. Revisions

While working on content entry, you are bound to notice elements that need fine-tuning. During this phase we will work with you to make sure that the design is perfect and that everything is running smoothly.

 

7. Launch

The big event! You’ll feel confident knowing that your site is professionally and securely hosted.

 

8. Follow-Up

Post-launch, we’ll make sure that you’re comfortable with accessing our online knowledge base and that you know how to get in touch with our support team if any issues arise. We’ll also periodically check in with you to see how things are going.

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