International School of Kenya Website Redesign: Going Responsive on a Budget
Debbie Eisenach

The International School of Kenya recently launched a bright and bold new, responsive website. Prompted by the need to have a mobile-friendly design, the school quickly pooled their resources to launch a website that better told the story of the school's rich environment, and better met the needs of its 920 students from 60+ countries.

The project was spearheaded by ISK's Director of Advancement Lynn Wells, who is also a longtime member of the Finalsite family, as he spent 12 years at AISB in Bucharest. We had the opportunity to catch up with Lynn last week about the redesign.

International School of Kenya Theme School Website

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What was the redesign process like for IS Kenya?

During the process, Lynn worked with Pamela Pappas, the school's Communication Manager, to propose three different school website designs to the management team, who agreed with their mobile-friendly recommendation right off the bat.

The school faced two small challenges as well: budget and staffing. But they wouldn't let either of those factors stand in their way. The team opted for one of Finalsite's new theme website designs.

"We couldn't afford to have a new site designed totally from scratch," said Lynn

"We decided that if we liked one of the design templates, that would give us an affordable option. The design we selected was the most dynamic, pleasing to the eye and offered us a template that incorporated the key elements we were looking for."

Unlike some other international schools, ISK does not have a webmaster. Therefore, content is structured based on divisions within the school. Athletics, the curriculum coordinator, and division heads all have access to their portions of the site and have been trained in updating them. "By sharing content management responsibility, we have been able to get buy in from key people and empowered them with the responsibility of marketing their areas of expertise," said Lynn.

Although the school's new website is on Finalsite's new Content Management System, Composer, there was almost no delay or road bumps in training. "Composer is easy to use and very intuitive. We trained our end-users one-on-one and have had no complaints," said Lynn. "It has been pretty easy to get everyone up-to-speed."

Together with the school's Advancement Assistant Janet Muasya, Pam and Lynn review site content regularly and make edits to ensure the site maintains a consistent style and tone that best reflects the school's brand.

While the site looks great now, a lot happened behind the scenes to update content.

"The project took longer than expected because we underestimated the amount of time they needed for content revisions and creation," said Lynn. "However, we were happy to take the opportunity to update our site map, fine tune and consolidate our content, and eliminate information that was no longer relevant."

IS Kenya Team

What were you goals with the redesign?

"Unlike Europe and Asia, where families often get a look-see trip, this is not the case in Kenya," said Lynn. "Often, the first and only view people get of the school is from the website. Therefore, the site is critical for selling the school and needs to make a great first impression for new families and faculty. "

ISK's new website features a cleaner, more modern design, with simplified navigation that works great on mobile devices. From spotlight news, to upcoming events, ISK took the opportunity to showcase their school all on the homepage. The page is bolstered by two engaging videos that bring to life the school and the country to both prospective staff and families.

ISK also created a password-protected community Portal to share important, yet private, information with teachers and parents alike. "Teachers never knew what parents were seeing so we created the community portal to solve that problem," said Lynn. "Also our PTO includes a lot of great information in the portal that everyone benefits from."

What has been the feedback on the site so far?

"Overall, the feedback has been very positive," said Lynn. "We are however launching a communication audit to solicit perceptions on the new website."

Based on this feedback, Lynn and his team will make changes to the site to meet the ever-changing needs of our community.

"And with the Finalsite Platform we are able to quickly make these adjustments on our own," he concluded.

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Debbie Eisenach

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 prescence while patnering with Finalsite. In her free time she enjoys travelling and attending events at her children's school in Berlin, Germany.

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