School District #46 - Sunshine Coast

A website for everyone

Blackbean was awarded the contract to design and develop new websites for School District #46 through a competitive public bidding process. When we engaged with the District, their website was many years out-of-date, difficult to manage, and lacking in functionality including social media integration, events scheduling, and online notifications for closures and weather emergencies. Our task was to design a website that captured the diverse values of B.C.'s Sunshine Coast and provided a better, more usable experience for all of the School District's stakeholders — from website content editors and administrators to the parents and students of each school across the District. In total, School District #46 required a total of twenty newly-designed websites, with the ability to easily manage content and users across each site from a single control panel.
  • We were required to redesign and develop twenty total websites for School District #46. Each website may need to share content and users with other sites on the District's server
  • The websites needed to be accessible to community members of all ability levels and cultures, across mobile and desktop devices
  • Communication features like emergency notifications, application forms for buses and other services, and a synchronized events calendar were all critical to the success of this project
  • The project needed to respect Sunshine Coast's Indigenous heritage, honouring the unceded territories of the Sechelt, Squamish, and Sliaammon Nations on which all Sunshine Coast communities reside

THe CHALLENGE

Blackbean was awarded the contract to design and develop new websites for School District #46 through a competitive public bidding process. When we engaged with the District, their website was many years out-of-date, difficult to manage, and lacking in functionality including social media integration, events scheduling, and online notifications for closures and weather emergencies. Our task was to design a website that captured the diverse values of B.C.'s Sunshine Coast and provided a better, more usable experience for all of the School District's stakeholders — from website content editors and administrators to the parents and students of each school across the District. In total, School District #46 required a total of twenty newly-designed websites, with the ability to easily manage content and users across each site from a single control panel.
  • We were required to redesign and develop twenty total websites for School District #46. Each website may need to share content and users with other sites on the District's server
  • The websites needed to be accessible to community members of all ability levels and cultures, across mobile and desktop devices
  • Communication features like emergency notifications, application forms for buses and other services, and a synchronized events calendar were all critical to the success of this project
  • The project needed to respect Sunshine Coast's Indigenous heritage, honouring the unceded territories of the Sechelt, Squamish, and Sliaammon Nations on which all Sunshine Coast communities reside

THe SOLUTION

We elected to build the School District #46 websites as a single Wordpress multisite with customized user roles. This allowed administrators to set user permissions on a case-by-case basis, making website management simple. A variety of social media sharing tools were implemented, including automatic posting to the school's Facebook page for major notifications and events. Emergency and weather notifications were implemented using both a website banner system and an email/text messaging reminder for parents. Finally, most forms and permission slips were digitized, simplifying paperwork and reducing paper usage.
  • Wordpress multisite allows for complex user controls and a shared content library, making website updates, edits, and maintenance simple
  • Social media integration helps ensure that parents and students see and interact with content updates on the platforms they use most
  • Automated alerts, form collection, and events management reduces administrative requirements
  • Dyslexia-friendly fonts, automated page translation, and ADA compliant site structure ensures all users of all ability levels can access the website

THe RESULTS

The new Wordpress multisite officially launched in Q3 2019. Since then, the website has received over 70,000 unique users and 200,000 pageviews, logging nearly 3,000 form submissions. The updated site allows content editors and website adminstrators greater freedom and control over their content and page layouts and has dramatically improved ease of access to important schooling information for Sunshine Coast parents and students alike.

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