As Indianapolis’ NPR and PBS affiliate, WFYI has been supplying great television and radio content to the community for more than 40 years, but their website didn’t allow them to add that content swiftly and nimbly.
The changing state of publishing and news production and WFYI’s desire to engage more deeply with and bring more local, relevant stories to the community meant they needed to create a new website that would allow them to do so with ease and speed.
Our engagement began with consulting first. Before we pushed the first pixel, we wanted to understand their audiences and how each of those audiences interacted with WFYI. We created surveys and reviewed market research that gave us clarity on where audiences connected with WFYI on social media, their website, and through downloads.
SPOILER ALERT: it was all about context.
In our audience research, we also sought to understand the needs of one key group – each of WFYI's departments. In order to understand how their team would use the site, we asked questions about things like sponsorship models and content creation capabilities in order to outline ways the website could support those needs.
The research phase of this project was the prototype for what we now call "discovery," and we’ve used what we learned about our process with WFYI on nearly every project since.
One issue facing WFYI was that PBS and NPR both offered their own content management systems, but neither fulfilled all of WFYI’s needs. Additionally, neither at the time offered a mobile or responsive solution. After further research and testing, we decided that a custom CMS would be the best solution to meet their needs.
From there we started collecting content for all of WFYI's programming — no small task! We used this content to understand how the pages needed to be structured to help users find programs and episodes, developing the site architecture and wireframes for the site.
We're big fans of the "measure twice, cut once" philosophy when it comes to a site of this scope, so testing was important at this point in the project. We tested wireframes with a group of users to make sure the navigation was clear and users could find information they needed.
In collaboration with the WFYI team and their Interactive Committee we went through an iterative approach to finalize the wireframes and launch into design.
In addition to the in-depth research and planning around users, navigation and wireframes, we spent a lot of time and energy helping WFYI develop a content plan. The biggest part of this process was creating voice and tone recommendations. These recommendations and subsequent content examples were based on a well-known person who WFYI strives to emulate when reporting and commentating.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of this amazing project was working in tandem with WFYI's talented team. Of particular help was their internal web developer, who proved to be both proficient and extremely helpful in integrating the myriad media systems, donation platform and live streaming that the site required.