The American School of Bombay (ASB) is a leading international school in Mumbai with a student population of 700. For nearly a decade, this international school has partnered with Finalsite to showcase their school to the world through their website. With their third website redesign proudly under their belt, we sat down with the Advancement Team and Director of Technology Support Mario Fishery to discuss this latest website wonder.
Mario has been a part of the ASB team since their first site launched in 2007 and has been pushing the envelope ever since with a bold vision, the latest in technology and cutting edge designs. When their fixed-width site hit the web back in 2007 – a new bar was set for international school website marketing.
No one can forget the bright imagery of the peacock feather and how it exemplified the school on so many different levels.
But with rapid advances in mobile technology and user preferences changing, the Advancement Team wanted a responsive website to better serve their community. In 2014 they launched a new responsive website. However, during this launch, the school was embarking on a rebranding effort. Rachel Bishop, Head of Marketing and Communication, said "this was a major rebranding effort to change our logo, update our look and feel, and add a new color palette. We really wanted to tell the story of our school through photos and videos, not just words."
Once the branding was finalized, a new website project was started. It was a collaborative team effort with their website project kicking off in April 2016 and launching in November 2016. The deadline was not a source of stress as they wanted to take the time to make sure it suited the needs of the school. The team really wanted to showcase ASB accurately and well to the international community, so they opted for a Best-in-Class design — Finalsite's top design package that includes the implementation of numerous different web design enhancements.
The Website Redesign Playbook
Telling the Story of ASB
ASB prides themselves in their community and they wanted their website to share this through the eyes of their teachers, parents, and students. "We offer so much to our community and we wanted to show that. As our main marketing vehicle, our website is crucial to our community as well as prospective families," said Rachel.
Through stunning photography and engaging videos created by their in-house AV team, the site connects emotionally with site visitors from the very second they land on the site. Their Motto of DREAM, LEARN, SERVE permeates throughout the site and captivates visitors and encourages them to learn more.
Optimizing the User Experience
Richard Faulknall, Web Design and Layouts, stressed that they focused on maximizing the user experience through better site navigation. In the past, users had trouble finding things so the user experience was given a critical eye and a new website taxonomy was created.
"We consolidated a lot of content and reduced our top-level categories. This has provided a better user experience both on the desktop and on mobile devices enabling users to access content quickly without having to scroll much."
Arun Subbian, Director of Content Creation and Website Building (and seasoned veteran of Finalsite's older Page Manager Platform) said that Finalsite's newer CMS Composer "is much more versatile! Adding videos and social media content is really convenient with the new 'Elements' feature. Accordions, tabs, callouts, and customizable layout elements are wonderful and enable us to make much more interesting pages." When visitors surf ASB's new site, they can see that great attention to detail was given on each page.
Another push was to consolidate and streamline content that was managed on other platforms including Weebly and Google Apps. Since parents were finding it difficult to navigate, athletics and co-curricular, among other things, were added to the main website. Rachel stated they also push a lot of content about school happenings out to social media but still tie it back to their website. Their News and Events Mashup Page utilizes the News Slider feature enabling them to highlight key news.
What's next for ASB?
When asked about the feedback from the community, Rachel stated that direct feedback has all been positive. Arun also commented that he measures satisfaction based on site analytics like traffic patterns, page views, and the amount of time visitors stay on the site pages. Thus far, he is pleased with the analytics and will continue to monitor them to make improvements to the site.
As aptly summarized by Rachel, ASB wants to keep their website fresh — so they are always looking for ways to enrich the site with updated, relevant, and interesting content.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As part of Finalsite's marketing team, Debbie has worked with international schools for the past 7 years while living in both Asia and Europe. From conference planning and presentations, to association events, and client success stories, she helps schools understand how they can maximize their web presence while partnering with Finalsite. In her free time she enjoys traveling and attending events at her children's school in Berlin, Germany.