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Richland School District Two

As one of the fastest-growing school districts in South Carolina, Richland School District Two’s website was not keeping pace.

Serving more than 28,000 students across 40+ locations, the district is committed to providing an exceptional educational experience across its elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as its magnet, continuing education, and child development center. And despite its growth, there was still room for improvement.

It was clear that the district’s website, last redesigned in 2016, was no longer meeting the needs of its diverse user base. The site had become cumbersome and inefficient, with several critical issues needing urgent attention.

Under the leadership of Ish Tate, the director of communications, the district embarked on a comprehensive website redesign project to better serve its community, improve accessibility, and enhance its users’ experiences.

At a Glance

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Richland Two is a nationally recognized school district located in suburban Columbia, South Carolina.

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The Challenge:  User Experience and Community Engagement

One of the most significant problems was the site's navigation. Many reported struggling with the navigational menu and the "Explore" prompt. "Users found the hamburger menu and the prompt on the previous site hard to navigate," recalled Tate, who was at the forefront of the redesign process. “This created a lot of frustration and inefficiencies because users weren’t able to find the information they needed quickly.”

"We needed to be ADA compliant," added Tate, emphasizing the need to not just meet legal requirements, but also make sure everyone in the community could use the site effectively.

The backend system was inefficient, making it difficult for staff to update and manage content. "We had a lot of feedback about it being difficult to manage on the backend," said Tate, adding that the visual appeal and functionality of the site failed to effectively showcase the district's achievements and offerings.

"It didn't give us as many opportunities to tell those stories, to celebrate, or to talk about the signature programming that's available in the district and the schools," explained Tate.

"Your prospective families are the number one target for the website, and being able to focus on that digital experience to improve your online presence, engage your audience, and focus on those storytelling elements is so important."

The Solution:  Enhancing Navigation, Accessibility, and Storytelling

Recognizing these issues, Richland Two decided to undertake a comprehensive website redesign focused on:

  • Rethinking the navigation by adopting a mobile-first approach 
  • Improving accessibility while streamlining content management
  • Incorporating storytelling elements
  • Making the enrollment process straightforward for prospective families

"The universal priority was improving the navigation," shared Tate. "We really wanted to make sure that we were giving people the information they were looking for in a way that made sense to them," adding that the new design needed to provide a seamless experience across all devices. "One of the things we did know was that most of our parents are using a mobile device.”

Since the launch with Finalsite


in the number of pages per visit


in organic traffic to the district site


in average time spent on page

richland enrollment in a smartphone

It was key for the district to incorporate more opportunities to highlight its programs, students, and staff through engaging content. "Our website gives us so many more places to tell these stories and talk about the signature programming," said Tate. 

Another important goal was making the enrollment process straightforward and accessible to prospective families. About 40% of students participate in the district’s choice program, which allows them to attend a school outside their zone or a magnet or virtual school. 

“I worked with the director of magnet programs to make sure those pages were impactful and stood out,” said Tate. ”Now, enrollment is at the top of every single web page. On all the schools’ pages and the district website, users can always get to enrollment."

Extensive stakeholder engagement was key and the feedback helped shape the new design to reflect the needs and desires of the district's community. "We surveyed principals, school front desk staff, district department leaders, and technology learning coaches,” Tate explained.

“We asked questions about the websites they liked and the reasons why, as well as what they thought the primary objective of the website should be, and how the website can support the district’s mission and vision.” 

“We discovered that people had a lot to say about the website and its purpose,” laughed Tate. “But it confirmed that people wanted the site to reflect the schools and our students, and they wanted it to reinforce our mission and vision.”

The Results: More traffic and Engagement

Hard work ensued, but since its November launch, the district site has seen a nearly 40% increase in organic traffic. In a recent quarter, users visited 3x the number of pages per visit and averaged 186% more time on page.

richland homepage in a laptop


"I’ve gotten so many compliments from employees, parents, and community members about the visuals and the ease of navigation," said Tate. “It's much more visual — we've integrated so many more videos and photos, and we were able to add more content to individual pages and improve the visitor experience without cluttering them.”

“We’re trying to create an experience that reflects what our audience wants and needs,” Tate continued. “In part, that’s a response to how people now use websites, so we designed this website to offer people the information they’re looking for in logical places.”

“For starters, our homepage is so much more visually appealing. There is so much more content there. Most of the sought-after info can be found with just a glance at the navigation menu, the Parent pages, or by using the Search or Find it Fast functions.”

As Tate reflected on the project, it’s clear that the new website was not just a technical upgrade but a significant step forward in how the district communicates and connects with its community — the perfect complement to the district’s slogan, “Purpose Driven, Future Ready.”

“This was an intense, but great experience,” said Tate. “This is the best our website has ever looked.”

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