By mid-2020, Days for Girls had pushed its existing website to its limits.
The team at the award-winning NGO working to shatter the global stigma of menstruation had slowly built up its digital presence on a Wix website, adding content, features, and functionality as the organization scaled. Over the years, it had become unmanageable — it was hard for the team to update and even harder for users to navigate. And Days for Girls wasn’t done growing. They needed a website worthy of their ambitious mission, with upleveled branding, clear messaging, and effortless usability on both the front and back ends.
We couldn’t be happier to help out. Kondo-ing a legacy site and implementing the right tools for the right functionality is one of our favorite things to do.
- Custom WordPress development
- Website design
- Information architecture
- WP dev
- Front-end dev
- Content strategy
Over four months, we delivered everything Days for Girls needed to keep their website on pace with the quality of work they’re doing around the world. We revamped the site design — and more importantly, transitioned their CMS from Wix to the more robust WordPress, rebuilding the most important features to be able to scale as the organization grew.
A more effective location finder with Google Maps
Days for Girls had pieced together a map experience using Tableau to highlight the scope of their operations. It did a good job of showing their global presence — they’re active in 61 countries, with a network of over 800 volunteer Chapters and Teams, and over 100 social enterprises — but the map struggled with everything else. There was no way to search or filter by region, country, or city. The formatting would break when you zoomed in on an area to learn more, and the design wasn’t responsive on mobile devices. This was a problem, since making it easy for newcomers from around the world to get involved locally is core to Days for Girls’ continuing impact.
It was a hassle on the backend, too: To update the map, someone on the Days for Girls team had to upload a new CSV file. It’s straightforward enough, but annoying when there are multiple updates to locations and contact information every week.
We could do better — and we wouldn’t even need to invent something new. Anyone who has ever searched for the closest post office or Taco Bell knows their way around a location finder, and we wanted to recreate that familiar, effective interface for new volunteers looking to get involved. We integrated Google Maps and designed an intuitive split-screen experience to house a quick search, contact details, and other relevant information on one side, with an interactive map on the other.
We also added the database to the WordPress admin panel so locations could be added and edited individually, instead of the re-uploading all the locations any time, say, an email address changed. The end result: an experience that’s easy to manage and effortless to navigate.
Bilberrry really heard what we wanted and delivered. That’s so rare when it comes to working with a design firm.Jessica Williams, Chief Communication Officer
The ability to create new user accounts to access private content
In addition to amplifying their mission, Days for Girls uses their website to distribute training documentation and crucial resources — such as patented sewing patterns — to members of their organization. This content lives in a series of private Leadership Rooms, which function as a sort of intraweb for volunteers and entrepreneurs around the world.
Days for Girls wanted to maintain the Leadership Rooms, but knew the whole system needed an overhaul. The original Wix platform could only accommodate a couple of password-protected pages, and there was no way to manage who had the passwords and therefore access to proprietary content. Another problem: once someone got a password, they had instant access to multiple Leadership Rooms.
Both issues could be solved with a straightforward login process, where every user has their own unique password. So that’s what we built. By tweaking WordPress’s out-of-the-box user functionality, we whipped up an onboarding flow that prompts individuals to create a username and password. Now, a single person can request access to each Leadership Room, which is reviewed and either granted or denied from the WordPress admin panel. It’s another example of a simple solution with a huge impact on the organization and user experience — our favorite.
A streamlined website built with flexible content templates
We knew going in that Bilberrry wouldn’t be designing every page on the Days for Girls website. They were in the middle of updating their programs and, like everyone else, adapting to a worldwide pandemic. Rather than try to pin down content that would inevitably change, we focused on creating a foundation the Days for Girls team could use now and build from into the future.
First up was resetting the navigation and onsite organization. As with any website, Days for Girls had accumulated tons of pages over the years — education, resources, stories, news — but those pages hadn’t been prioritized for how visitors to the site would access that content. The result was a sprawling warren of content (or as one team member put it, “a dumping ground of information”). It called for a fresh start.
After mapping the content in a site-wide audit, we trimmed and consolidated everywhere we could to tighten up the top-level menus. Add in clear wayfinding and some smart CTAs, and suddenly you have a nimble website that quickly connects users to the information they’re looking for.
From there, we moved into design. We started by overhauling seven key pages with brighter, bolder branding, powerful new messaging, and concise storytelling. Once those designs were locked, we used them as the jumping-off point for a system of 20 content templates that the Days for Girls team can mix and match like LEGO blocks to continue creating new content. Essentially, we made Days for Girls their own customized site builder and embedded it right into the WordPress admin panel, empowering the whole team with the tools to keep expanding their online presence.
The right time to redesign
Websites that have become “dumping grounds” are usually the result of good news: scaling operations, investing in opportunities, pivoting to tackle new challenges. Even though committing to a redesign is daunting (not to mention transitioning to a new CMS…) we believe it’s always something to celebrate.
And it’s not something to delay, either. One of the things we appreciated the most about our collaboration with Days for Girls was their willingness to kick off a sitewide overhaul without having every piece of every program pinned down. Like any evolving organization, if they’d waited, they’d be waiting forever. Instead, we teamed up to forecast into the future and build a robust, flexible foundation that can grow along with the organization.
The Days for Girls site is set to launch in early 2021.