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The New DPS Home Page

A Dynamic New Experience for a Diverse District

To accomplish its mission in this digital age, the Durham Public Schools must have a helpful, easily accessible website. Recognizing that the old site fell short of enabling students and their families to discover all that the district has to offer, and for our employees to quickly find needed information, DPS asked district and community members to share their insights on the most vital site components and the challenges in locating them.

The New DPS Home Page

The new DPS homepage is infused with personality, color, eye-catching graphics and positive messaging to build on a history of strength, expertise and vision. Using input from stakeholder interviews, we changed the site’s architecture to better reflect parent needs, community awareness and educators’ needs.

 

DESIGN GOALS

1. Strengthen DPS’ relationship and increase involvement with key stakeholders through an inviting, accessible design.

2. Position the DPS brand as innovative with the latest trends in web design and tools.

3. Increase user experience and provide guidance and direction with simple navigation.

 


DESIGN DETAILS

Overall, the site is designed to be more intuitive and interactive. We give navigational prominence to the areas that users find the most useful and showcase the most interesting and uplifting items with a more compelling layout. A few key features that enable users to quickly find what they need on the site include:

 

Most Searched for Items

For the pages and tools that analytics indicate are most often used, we embedded links at the very top of the page in helpful icons, and then repeated the links in drop-down menus.  All the homepage content is determined by what has historically been most useful to users.

New Home Page - Most Searched

 

Feedback

Our new design is based on what people have looked for in the past, but as needs change, we are ready to respond. Each page has a form for users to send feedback about what works and what can be improved on the site in the future.


The link to the Feedback form is located in the footer of every page:

New Home Page - Feedback

 

Main Navigation

Our fresh navigation bar uses different fonts and text sizes to clearly separate the sections for our main audiences (Parents, Community, Newcomers and Staff) from other navigational items. This distinction will strengthen our communications both internally and externally by allowing us to refine the information we deliver to each group.


New Home Page - Main Nav

 

New Search Feature

To save time for the users who know what they need but not where to find it through the simplified navigation, we added a prominent search feature at the top of the page.  This feature defaults to a simple search that will handle the majority of requests, but has an advanced setting to refine results.

The new search feature is located at the top of each page, on the right side.

New Home Page - Search

 

Large Slideshow

We reinforce our DPS brand and highlight positive news about our district with a more interactive display of our many assets. Content that changes will help us to communicate that Durham Public Schools is an innovative and forward-thinking school district. Taking center stage on the new design are DPS students thanking the district for providing an outstanding education that prepares them for success in college, in the workforce and as engaged citizens.

 

New Home Page - Slideshow 02

 

School and Department Drop-down Menus

To make it easier to discover important interior pages, we created drop-down menus to guide our users to the information they are seeking.

New Home Page - Dropdowns

 

Español

For our Spanish-speaking constituents, we added a highly visible and easily identifiable “Español” button that takes users to the most pertinent content.

 

New Home Page - Espanol

 

What’s Happening

For timely updates on the happenings of the district, we built in a slideshow section with links to District News, School News and DPS Calendar Items. Each has relevant imagery so that our users do not have to read as much text to find what they are looking for.

New Home Page - Whats Happening

 

Strategic Plan

Our website redesign includes a new site dedicated to our DPS Strategic Plan, One Vision. One Durham. In the spirit of transparency and community involvement, this is an intuitive one-stop shop for information about the plan.

New Home Page - Strat Plan