Designing & Building 3 websites in 2 months

Web development CMS Hub Marketing Hub Apr 11, 2023 10:00:37 AM

  1. Starting point

    Three separate brands that wanted to be brought into a single service package. Deploy effective tools for communications, marketing and customer service teams.

  2. Challenge

    Poor site visibility and three separate brands. The service paths of large sites were intermittent and the most important content was difficult to find.

  3. Solution

    Designing service paths to meet the end user needs. Deploy HubSpot tools (Sales & Marketing) to unify team work.

A foundation with an important cause

Live is a foundation established in 1940 for the medical treatment, rehabilitation and vocational training of veterans injured in the Finnish Winter War during WWII. The Finnish society has gone through great changes since those days and Live has been keeping up with this development by changing its own activities to meet the demands of the changing society.

“Our aim is to ensure that all individuals are part of our society in the best possible way”, says Leena Hallamaa, Director of Customer Relations at Live Foundation. “Our philosophy is, that every human being is valuable as they are, whether they can work 4 hours or 40 hours a week. Everyone can be provided with work”, continues Leena.

In order to keep up with the changing society, Live decided to execute a brand renewal to all its 3 brands (Invalidisäätiö, Vocational College Live, Live Services) including new websites and a platform of sales & marketing tools in spring 2018.  After revamping the brand in May 2018 with a branding agency, Live started planning the redesign of their websites and chose HubSpot platform and Kaksio Labs as their design & technology partner.

Sounds straightforward? Well here’s the catch: The update included three entire websites, slightly under 400 separate web pages all over the course of 2 months during the months of June and July. And to make it even more challenging, all websites had to be easy to use and to have a certain level of accessibility. A significant amount of Live’s customers are individuals with special needs including different levels of disability, injury, illness or other special needs, which resulted in significant requirements in terms of UI and UX.

Three new websites on a tight schedule

Live’s aim was to create three completely renewed websites with a modern look and feel as well as ones that are easy, accessible and intuitive to use for all stakeholders – external and internal – included. The concrete goals were set as the following:

  • Completing three launchpad websites before August 2018.
  • Increasing the amount of monthly sessions after launch with 20 % within the first 3 months with Growth driven design.

The first goal was critical to reach because the autumn semester was starting on August 13th and the new website for Vocational College Live (part of former Invalidisäätiö) had to be finished by then. The second goal was based on the nature of the foundation: instead of gaining a large amount of inbound leads, the primary aim of the company was to gain as large as possible audience and coverage for its important message and cause. Secondary goals included increasing the amount of organic sessions as well as increasing the amount of marketing qualified leads.

Sturdy project management

The project started off by sitting down with the project team and planning the execution. Live's branding agency provided Kaksio Labs with a new brandbook, which served as a guideline for the colors, typography and images to be used.

Before any technical development was done, the strategy phase was initiated. This included creating and reviewing personas, jobs-to-be-done, customer journeys and goals. The phase was wrapped up by creating a wishlist for the new websites as well as defining sitemaps and navigations.

After this, Kaksio started planning the technical aspects of the implementation. Finally, the lawful boundaries were discussed and a very detailed project plan and project management guidelines were agreed on. This included e.g. change management guidelines, which are vital in a website project of this size. After this the team was ready for action!

In order to meet the deadline, the following phasing and roles were agreed on. As the site for Vocational College Live was the most crucial, all efforts were target to create this Launch Pad as fast as possible. The two other sites, Live’s own and Live Services, were started a few weeks later. In terms of the roles, Kaksio Labs was in charge of creating individual templates and all technical issues and development. Live’s role was to do copywriting, in other words provide all written content for the sites.

Case Invalidisäätiö2Kaksio generated examples of all pages including layout with actual fonts, colors and placeholders for images. Then an extensive HubSpot training was started. Kaksio taught 5 core players at Live to use HubSpot and make updates on the websites. By cloning, the main users were able to produce 2nd and 3rd level pages easily by themselves. This was followed by selecting images for the website. The images were carefully selected from image banks to support the new brand and visual identity.

Driving more traffic and making updates easy

As mentioned, one of the main goals was to gain a larger amount of visitors. One of the main ways to meet this goal was to rearrange the content in to match user needs in a better way. Based on feedback and previous analytics, pages were regrouped and user flows were rethought. In order to support search engines, three different topic clusters were created around the most prominent themes. This was followed by creating three pillar pages including relevant subtopics.

Workers at Live were trained to use HubSpot and to take part in the development work from the very beginning. The aim was to ensure that they are fully capable to do text, image and certain modular updates independently, while Kaksio focuses on the more technical development of the websites. One example of this was creating various custom repeater modules. These were selected instead of flexible columns in order to give the customer a certain level of freedom but nevertheless minimizing the risks of errors and maintaining a visually coherent style.

An accessible site for everyone

In order to ensure the accessibility of the websites, the project team had a separate planning session to understand all aspects involved in e.g. serving the visually impaired and visitors with different learning disabilities. The text was written in a simple way and a text-to-speech functionality was implemented. ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech module was chosen and added on the college’s website. The site was then tested on JAWS screen reader and changes were made based on the results.

To make sure that the site stayed accessible in the future, Kaksio initiated an ongoing communication between users, an accessibility specialist in order to improve the accessibility continuously in unison with other development needs.

Integrating the HR system

In order to offer visitors as good an experience as possible, Live’s HR system Sympa HR was also integrated. Live Foundation has hundreds of employees whose contact information must be shared on the site. Kaksio implemented search functionalities where users can search employees based on multiple criteria such as first name, last name, title, location etc.

The information itself was stored in HubDB for effective implementation and easy maintenance. Because of frequent changes an integration was built between the HR platform and HubSpot. The HR Server uploads a CSV file daily to a third server. Because this file couldn’t be changed on the HR side, it is modified to include only relevant employees on the server. This job is activated daily after the file transfer and the changed information is uploaded into HubSpot using the HubDB API. This way the contact information is always up-to-date without human intervention in the process.

Exciting results and successful collaboration

After a very intensive summer, all three websites were tested, optimized and published on time. This alone was a big achievement.

“Kaksio’s commitment has been nothing short of amazing. I can only just guess how many holiday plans were rescheduled, but it was never visible. The complete opposite – surprises have always been positive from’s side, as they have often thought about the next steps half a mile further than us!” Leena sums up.

Moreover, the work did not stop after the launch. In order to reach the goal of increasing the amount of visitors, collaboration was continued with HubSpot's Growth Driven Design and inbound services. This was done by utilizing the entire HubSpot platform including CRM, sales and marketing.

After an autumn of hard work, the goals of visitor increase were not only met, but surpassed. By the end of the year, Live Foundation had realized a growth of around 27% in its monthly sessions. In addition, sessions from organic search increased by 34% while the amount of MQL's increased by 21%. Both Live and Kaksio are very pleased with the results.

After the website project, Live shows no signals of slowing down. They have dived directly into all other parts of HubSpot with Kaksio, who is specialized in utilizing HubSpot’s entire platform. This work has included setting up and fine tuning sales, marketing and services tools as well as even designing digital services on top of HubSpot’s platform. Stay tuned for more!

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