American Academy of Innovation
At the American Academy of Innovation, there is a place for every student... though you wouldn't have known it looking at the school's old website. Aptly named, AAI is a charter school that thrives off of innovation and giving students the opportunity to take control of their own education. Creativity, individuality and exploration define this unique learning environment. It was time for the school's website to reflect its innovative spirit.
AAI Project Overview
AAI's old site didn't mirror the school itself. A top-notch charter school known for innovation, project-based, competency-based and experimental learning, AAI's mission is to empower the mind to improve the world. Unfortunately, the school's site failed to represent the quality of education it provides.
In addition to not adequately telling AAI's story or engaging with their audience, AAI's old website was downright broken. The site was built on a standard WordPress theme that was difficult to update and dysfunctional in a variety of areas. AAI decided it was better off starting from scratch. That's where Spigot came in.
We wanted to make a site that did the school justice. In all honesty, we all wished we could have gone to a school as innovative as AAI – and we were excited to tell its story. The old site failed to explain what the school was all about and we were determined to fix that with the new site. We also wanted to build a site that would be easy for the school's internal team to update in the future.
So, we designed and built a custom WordPress site that is innovative, looks great, functions properly, and is simple for the school to update for years to come.
(And we had fun doing it... which, when you think about it, is the AAI way.)
How to tell the AAI story in a user-focused design? Innovate.
A different kind of place. That's what AAI is and that's what we wanted to highlight in our design. Before we could even think about design, however, we needed to determine a content and navigation strategy that showcases all of the amazing things the school has to offer while still acting as an everyday resource for students, parents and teachers.
As such, this site needed to cater to the needs of multiple audiences: prospective students and parents, current students and parents, and the school faculty and administration. It was a tall order, but it wasn't anything our content manager and copywriter couldn't handle. Together with AAI's representative, we organized both old and new content in an expanded site structure and navigation, wrote new pages and edited old copy, and created a hierarchy of page templates to layout the school's content in an interesting yet cohesive design across the site's 39 pages.
While much of the site is dedicated to highlighting all of the innovative and hands-on learning opportunities AAI provides its students, there are a few functionalities across the site to cater to current students, parents and AAI staff. We created an easy-to-update Academic Calendar for quick reference, as well as a dynamic events calendar that automatically feeds throughout the site. We dedicated pages to important student resources, including AAI's online cafeteria ordering system, its Aspire and Empower login pages and transcript requests through Parchment.
Finally, to keep everyone informed about student accomplishments, we built a custom blog that showcases student work throughout the site via a blog feed.