One of the most fascinating – and crucial – phases in our process here at Spry is what we call Listen & Diagnose. It’s our first step toward a deeper understanding of what our client needs. Out of this phase comes the Findings Report. The report itself is certainly a key deliverable, but it is in the experience of developing it where the real magic happens. This collaborative exercise gives us the chance to listen, becoming a vehicle for discovering solutions together.
The discovery for a recent project that was particularly enjoyable was the redesign of the website for the Center of Creative Arts, or COCA, a national leader in innovative arts education. The redesigned COCA website is an integral piece contributing to the organization’s current and future success. It plays a critical role in attracting audiences to its events, supporting participants attending classes and working as a valuable tool for the internal team at COCA.
To identify the three primary groups mentioned above, we interviewed dozens of key stakeholders within the organization. In addition, we undertook a thorough review of the existing brand and conducted an audit of its legacy website. These efforts resulted in the creation of the Findings Report, which we used to ensure alignment before moving into the design of the experience.
We are grateful to COCA staff members for devoting their valuable time to a series of interviews and facilitated discussions that revealed important insights. Across the organization, COCA staff shared what the current issues were, as well as a vision of what could be. Thanks to these conversations, we gained the deeper understanding necessary to develop a platform that advances the mission of COCA for years to come.
Our participants keep me inspired. They are a cross section of this region, representing everything that St. Louis could be.
COCA staff member –
Client-provided brand standards, along with examples of marketing communications, were synthesized to ensure a consistent aesthetic across touchpoints, both physical and digital. In addition to how things look, the way a user experiences an organization’s online presence impacts how they feel about the brand. Our goal was to help the user easily engage with COCA’s content, ultimately using digital to enhance the perception of the brand overall.
We conducted a qualitative and quantitative website review to assess the user experience. This revealed strengths to build on – along with opportunities for improvement. As COCA had grown, its needs had changed. At the same time, technology became friendlier, and customers’ expectations became higher. Among our findings, we uncovered an outdated way of organizing the site’s content. To address this, we prioritized the creation of an intuitive Information Architecture that can flex as the organization expands, to serve both internal and external audiences’ changing needs.
Our time spent listening, researching and thinking as a team was reflected in the observations and insights shared in the Findings Report. After synthesizing and distilling the information, we identified what we mutually understood to be the most necessary, relevant and valuable features we could include to ensure we built a best-in-class website for COCA.
It is always exciting to be given the opportunity to work with such an important community institution, and we sincerely support COCA’s mission. Working hand-in-hand, we were able to create a renewed digital experience that genuinely lives up to the high standards set by the organization in everything it does.