37 Websites for District 196
District 196, also known as Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan, is the fourth largest district in the state of Minnesota with 30,000 students, 4,000 staff and 35 schools. Efficient communication with families is vital, but leadership recognized they faced several major challenges due to an online presence that had become outdated and unwieldy. Numerous website platforms varied from school to school and didn’t provide a seamless experience as students moved through the grades. Webmasters and specialists needed an easier-to-use content management system (CMS). Accessibility in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was a top priority. What do you do when you’re facing these kinds of challenges? District 196 partnered with CEL. By leveraging a comprehensive web redesign process, they could unify schools and programs districtwide.
2020 NSPRA Publications and Digital Media
Excellence Award Winner
CEL strategists and the District 196 communications team started web development with focus group among key stakeholders and combined that input with data analytics to understand design needs. Though more than 70 percent of web traffic was coming from the mobile devices, the existing sites weren’t developed for mobile-first users. Data analytics confirmed this insight along with the fact that families and staff had different needs. The team decided to segment audiences and create a staff portal so the District 196 website could focus on students, families and members of the community. The development approach called for a staged rollout of 37 websites over the course of 12 months.
The new web presence for District 196 met the school system’s goals and more. Outdated content was eliminated. The communications team could post content on the district site and share it with schools in a matter of minutes. Live text pulled from PDFs — which still exist in some cases, but as an option — let screen readers access content in compliance with the ADA. Instead of needing seven or eight clicks to reach content or key functionality, now most pages are available in two. If users are trying to find something, accurate metadata for each page keeps people on the site instead of going out to Google and coming back.
District 196 summarizes its mission with the motto, One District, Infinite Possibilities. Its new web presence gives this forward-thinking school district a unified new communications platform for helping students of all ages learn and grow.
School Websites – Before
School Websites – After
"The CEL Marketing PR Design team was instrumental in helping us research, design, build and launch our new District 196 online presence. Not only does our refreshed website platform make it easier for families and students to navigate and find information, it is also robust in its ADA compliance and features to ensure the websites are accessible to every visitor. Their design expertise, knowledge of school marketing and intense attention to detail was critical to the success of our new online brand."