Peoria Public School Foundation

Peoria Public School Foundation

A word from the artist

I served as the Scrum Master for a team of designers in an academic setting. My team was connected through Bradley University to the Peoria Public School Foundation. We were assigned with completely overhauling their existing website, creating something new that was both functional and beautiful.

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Project Description


The Peoria Public School Foundation (PPSF) is a non-profit organization. Our team of designers did a massive overhaul of their current website. We refreshed their brand by making the website more appealing. We organized information more effectively so users could find specific details with ease. PPSF benefits from this since more people will be able to navigate their website and most importantly, donate to PPSF online.

I was the Scrum Master for this project. I lead eight designers, including myself. Aside from creating moodboards and low-fidelity mockups, writing content, and of course, designing the website, I had extra responsibilities. We implemented agile methodology and iterated in two week sprints, before I lead the retro and turned in parts of the project. I was the head of our Asana board and tried my best to keep the team on schedule and running smoothly. We worked in Wordpress to make the site and Figma for initial designs.

About the Client

The Peoria Public School Foundation raises money for teachers and students in the Peoria community. They have an enormous impact on the community, bringing positive change to every school. They give money directly through programs like classroom grants and scholarships for graduating students. They also sponsor a number of programs to help enrich the learning environment for kids, and prepare them for the future. This includes career-readiness programs to get kids introduced to different professions in the community.

We were connected to the organization through Greg Lynn. He teams young designers up with nonprofits/charities to update their online presence.

The Challenge

We encountered a lot of pain points in PPSF’s original website. Every dollar PPSF fundraises goes right back to students and teachers. This is excellent for PPSF, but left their website a little lacking since there wasn’t a dedicated designer to maintain it.  The main problems we encountered were:

1. Lack of Clear Organization and Wide Scope. PPSF does a lot for the community, with tons of outreach events, programs, and mentor highlights. However, none of this content was organized. The header didn’t have an “about” or “contact” section. Information was lumped together and it was hard to determine why certain categories were placed together.  

2. Outdated Design/Lack of Design Guidelines. The website has not been updated for a long time. There was no clear “identity”. Font choices were mostly from default HTML/CSS settings, and instead of a clear color palette it mostly consisted of rainbow text. Aside from that, the UX was frustrating. Many dropdown links aren't clickable, and text was cut off no matter how much you scrolled up or down.

3. Unclear Target User. The website has a lot of content, but there wasn’t a clear target audience. We couldn’t tell who we wanted to get on the website. Was it for students in the community, donors, alumni? All three? None of the above? We wanted to make sure there was a clear message presented from the beginning.

As you can see, it needed a little extra help.

Their original website (Homepage)
Their original website (Staff Page)

The Solution

We implemented agile methodology and iterated in two week sprints. With each sprint, we tried to address a specific concern.

Firstly, we had to come up with a specific brand image for PPSF. Based on their logo, we created a color palette, selected fonts, and chose key images. This design guideline influenced the rest of the project.

Then, we did a deep-dive into their current website, researching all of the information they had. We then organized it and created information architecture to divvy up their information.

Then, once we had the basic information organized, we worked on telling a story. The homepage needed to grab people’s attention while also explaining why they should donate to the organization. We crafted a tagline for the website, explained their positive impacts, and made it clear how users could benefit from helping the community. It isn’t just about feeling good, its about securing the future of Peoria through educating its youth. The homepage features this narrative.

The Results

As a result of our re-design, PPSF has a website that connects donors to the foundation with ease. While this website serves to inform the community about the different programs PPSF offers, its primary purpose is to get people to donate. PPSF relies on donations, and we have designed the website to tell a story about the positive impact donations have on children. It creates a sense of purpose and positivity. It incentivises users to donate because they know it will be good for them, good for the children, and good for the future of Peoria. We also intentionally placed donate buttons throughout the pages to reinforce the importance of donating and make it as seamless as possible for the user to do.

Trish O'Shaughnessy, Director of Programming and Community Engagement and the representative from PPSF we worked closest with, says she loves the new look. She especially likes the use of color and photographic elements because it feels very true to who they are as an organization. She says that the website captures who PPSF and what their mission is, and she also credited our team for our professionalism and assistance.

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