Saturday, September 6, 2008

Arts-Street.org: A Design Process Case Study


I was lucky enough to speak with Ivy Hastings of Fusionbox recently regarding her and her company’s effort to re-envision and redesign the website for Arts Street. Arts Street is a Denver non-profit company that provides children with the opportunity to learn studio and technology-focused arts. Arts Street provides education, mentorship, internship and even employment in the areas of web design, photography, video and writing skills to underserved youth. 


The Objective:


According to Ivy, who acted as Fusionbox’s Creative Director on the project and sits on the Board of Directors for Arts Street, Fusionbox recognized the need for a more effective website for Arts Street and offered to redesign the non-profit agency’s website on a pro bono basis. Fusionbox set out to increase awareness of the agency as well as increase recruitment of volunteers, grants and more effectively zero-in on the target audience. 


The Strategy:


Through collaboration with their client and exhaustive research, Fusionbox was able to define a vision of what the final product would look like. The process involved in attaining that vision required more time than the rest of the project and was also considered the most important. Ivy informed me that her team’s first task was to determine what information would be presented on the site. This process involved determining who would be viewing the site and why. For instance, potential volunteers and students viewing the site would most likely want to know what programs would be available and how to go about taking part in them. On the other hand, potential donors would want to know what Arts Street does and that the agency is stable and organized. 


The Process:


Once the discovery process was complete, Ivy and her team of 5 designers went about wire-framing and story-boarding the necessary content. This process was done without any aesthetic consideration other than deciding the most logical, intuitive and user-friendly layout. With these mock-ups, her team responded to feedback from the client to come up with a final blueprint for the design of the site. 


Ivy’s team then combined the blueprint with previous information regarding the client’s web design taste to arrive at a final product. Hardly any back-and-forth with regard to design changes was necessary due to Fusionbox’s thorough understanding of their client’s vision.


The Outcome:


The success of the project is evident in arts-street.org’s increased site traffic and search engine ranking. The continued success of Arts Street as an organization is evident in the fact that Fusionbox employs and interns Arts Street alumni in their own company. 


The process of researching this project has been an enlightening one. Ivy Hastings happily provided me with her time and expertise so that I may understand how her company was able to build, from the ground up, a professional website for a deserving organization. Thanks to Ivy Hastings, Fusionbox and Arts Street.

11 comments:

about me said...

Great project.
I checked out the arts street website. It looks clean and professional. What a difference from other non-profit sites I've seen that abound with complimentary colors like purple and black.

PS. the arts street does not work.

stubborn11 said...

I think the research and development that Fusionbox did was an effective and efficient method of design. I think that is something a lot of us should respect and imitate when working on projects in the future. Good work, Ron

bask said...

The colors implemented in their site design are very child oriented which is what the whole project and site is all about. This is really nice, I like it.

KMosimann said...

Good work. It was interesting to hear that hardly any back-and-forth communication was required.

cricket and a red wheelbarrow: said...

I'm interested in some of the details of the challenges. I know you mentioned them briefly. Have they gotten feedback on the site from the users and donors?
Well put together presentation. Easy to follow and interesting to read.

reneemudd said...

Interesting study...however, it would have been nice to see actual images of the website or at least a direct link to it. This would have also broken up the large blocks of text and given the post a bit of visual interest.

Overall your content was well written and "thoroughly enjoyable..."

Digital Spoon said...

It's always nice to hear about organizations that support kids with and through art.

I did a video p¬iece a couple semesters back about an non-profit called “Art from Ashes”. What they do is art therapy, the help kids from the streets that have been traumatized and make them express their feelings through art.

So, I think that it is important to help the next generation in any way possible.

Keep Spooning !

Kennakins said...

I thought this was some very interesting work, as other people have said I wish there was some visuals to move the information along and keep you more interested in the designer. I still went to the designers site though and thought it was very clean and straightforward use of web design.

The-Offset said...

It is a very nice - pro-bono websites are harder to find because of how time consuming they are. Good job.

designFlux said...

Great cause! Its great that there is an organization out there getting youth involved in the arts, especially digital arts because this opens them up to the opportunity to pursue a career with it. Your study was interesting and concise. Good job.

Ellen Jane said...

I like how there is concrete evidence of success based on the increased traffic on the site and search engine activity.
So cool to look at young artists' work on the website and read about the how the alumni of the program have pursued their passions.
Lastly, Ivy Hastings & Fusionbox place importance on being in the know about branding. This is an area I know little about so I'll read up about it on their site when time allows.