Seattle Public Schools: New SPS Websites This Summer
Seattle Public Schools Website Redesign
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is engaged in a project to improve the user experience of our websites. The redesigned district and school websites will go live on August 2!
The project, which started in 2019, focuses on the user experience of our students and families. Thank you to the over 4,000 students, staff and families who provided feedback and helped guide this overhaul!
New website features
- Priority key resources for students and families
- Mobile-friendly design
- Improved navigation
- Extensive multilingual translation services
- New colors and visual design inspired by the Pacific Northwest
- Artwork by local Northwest Coast Indigenous artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo, Squaxin / Skokomish
Throughout the phases of the project, there have been and always will be opportunities to share your voice and your priorities.
The new design is based on user feedback with information gathered from interviews with students, families, community partners and staff, surveys, usability testing, and website analytics. We favor engagement with students and families furthest from educational justice.
We are now in phase 4 of our project.
Phase 1 November – December: Interviews and focus groups with students and families furthest from educational justice, survey of all SPS website users, and review of web analytics.
January 2 – March phase: Navigation studies to discover the logical navigation structure and the grouping of web pages (information architecture).
Phase 3 March – April: Design and development of the appearance with usability studies to ensure that the navigation, categories and design meet the needs of our families, students, staff, partners and the community at large.
Phase 4 April – August: Content migration and new website are live! New sites will go live in August.
About this project
SPS websites are the primary communication tool for staff and families and serve as a digital hub for district and school educational resources and information. Serving more than 100 schools and nearly 53,000 students, SPS sites must work for students, current and future families, staff and community members.
The objectives of the project center the user experience and include: increasing accessibility and community feedback in the final design, improving navigation and search features to help readers find resources, improving access with a mobile design first, create a user-friendly system for content editors, and provide a more stable web hosting environment – ensuring reliable services and that our sites are “always on”.
This project includes the district and school websites.
It Will not do change tools such as The Source, Schoology or Clever the student portal.
Why are we making this change?
Delivering consistent and predictable updates has been a challenge with the current website host and Content Management System (CMS).
The Web Services team is excited that the new system provides ease of use for the 500 district editors who manage the individual school sites, the SPS staff website, and the district public site.
Putting students and families first
The guiding question of the redesign is “How do we design a web experience that focuses on the goals, needs and challenges of students and families furthest from educational justice?” “
By unabashedly centering experience and engagement with Color’s students and families, the project directly supports the goals of our Seattle Excellence strategic plan.
In November and December, our community participated in an online survey that was translated into six languages. Almost 4,000 people in total participated.
The team also hosted a series of focus groups with middle and high school students, African American families, indigenous families, and families supported by Amharic, Cantonese, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese interpreters. As well as interviews with staff and community organizations that support families furthest from educational justice.
Throughout the process, the web services team re-engaged with these community members to share how their feedback fed into the design and ensure the design meets the needs of families through user testing. .
The web team will return with these same families in fall 2021 and share another satisfaction and feedback survey on the website to look for opportunities for improvement.
- Navigation: improve navigation to make it easier to find information.
- Content and design: the design must highlight important resources for
students and families.
- Visuals and icons: use more images and videos to help readers find
- Linguistic support: Lack of translation or precise translation of key content
created confusion among users and put them in a position where they feel
unsupported and disadvantaged.
- Don’t change everything: Some resources such as the “Select a School” link and the location of the Student Family Portal link work well.
Send us comments or questions about this project
This press release was produced by Seattle Public Schools. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.