When Village Shalom announced plans for expanding their campus it also meant renovations to their website. Village Shalom’s expansion was a major effort – adding 76 independent living apartment residences; a Main Street common area with dining, service and entertainment amenities; a free-standing 48-residence Household Model memory care community; 24 boutique-style short-term rehabilitation suites and a state-of-the-art therapy gym.
It had been several years since the Village Shalom website had undergone any major updates, and it seemed like the perfect time to not only restructure content but to also update the site’s aesthetic.
An in-depth analysis of Village Shalom’s site analytics revealed that while they had plenty of traffic, the bounce rate for a few key pages was too high. Also, while some content was consistently popular, other key content seemed to not be noticed by users.
Clickfarm, along with Village Shalom stakeholders, examined the existing site’s section and page structure in order to see how new content for the expansion could be best worked in. It was decided to start from scratch, and, using data collected from their analytics, a new sitemap was created.
Beyond allowing for new content and structure, a primary goal of the redesign was a better user experience for both site visitors and the staff who maintain the site’s content.
A wireframe was developed for each page type – from the home page to section landing pages to interior detail pages – in order to plan what content would be prioritized on each page, and what types of content Clickfarm would need to allow for: copy, images, videos, testimonials, forms, floor plans and news articles.
Design recommendations included color-coded site sections, to serve as a supportive visual cue for users. Text size was increased to accommodate the primary user demographic: adults over 50, and color contrast was increased between clickable elements and supportive content, so that links to more in-depth information were easy to identify.
High-quality images were used liberally and displayed as large as possible, to really give users a feel for the Village Shalom culture and lifestyle. Floor plan images were enlarged and presented in a way that allowed users to easily click through them without having to hunt through small thumbnails. A short video loop was added to the home page, and finally, we added a touch of motion to page elements as they scroll into view.
Originally built on Drupal in 2014, technical enhancements to the Village Shalom website prescribed a more nimble approach to building pages, including:
The ability to use structured content panels in an arbitrary order: copy, video, images and link blocks can be stacked and mixed in order to create the most robust content vehicle possible. (Think legos or Mr. Potato Head.)
Utilizing Drupal’s Paragraphs contrib module, Clickfarm defined four content types for this functionality – each including single and dual column layout options as well as the ability to choose a background color for each. Site content managers can now add these layout widgets in any order on most templates of the site.
The ability to deploy reusable sections of content: unique instances of content blocks, all featuring the same content focus but scattered throughout the site, increase the risk of time-sensitive content falling out of date and complicate content maintenance. Rather than write and edit these content blocks separately, Clickfarm wanted to leverage reusable content panels.
The site leverages Entity Reference to place content blocks in multiple places throughout the site. In order to facilitate content management and editing, content editors may create a content block once and then reference global content assets to place them where they’re needed.