What do you do when your website no longer reflects the positioning for your organization? How do you make it easy to find information and connect to all of your nonprofit’s offerings? For the PJCC, the answer started with Dayspring.
The Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC) in Foster City. The PJCC, in existence since 1948, is one of several Jewish community centers in the San Francisco Bay area.
With every reason to be proud, the PJCC determined to create a Web strategy that would showcase their recently completed, 50,000 sq.foot campus. The accomplishment was also a moment ripe to reinvent their brand, identity, and business model, and coordinate a Web redesign with the organizational rebranding effort. The PJCC leadership also knew that many of their constituents, particularly people using the athletic center, were not Jewish. The new business model and strategy were crafted with this in mind. This reality, in microcosm, was asserted by their mission statement “to strengthen Jewish identity and values in a center with an environment that is welcoming to all people at every stage of life.” While the current Web site was not communicating the actual diversity, the question of how to employ Jewish symbolism and language to the redesigned site was being asked with a fresh sense of sobriety and possibility.
The PJCC’s theme, “Your center for Life,” was aptly and fully manifest in the array of programs for every age group across multiple interest categories. However, the existing Web presence was not providing current information among all interest areas.
Dynamic content and distributed contributors converged to overwhelm effective online communication. PJCC was also facing a number of substantial technology challenges that were becoming impediments, including a third party tool that made online registration easy for some programs but impossible for others.
The project sponsors wanted the newly constructed campus to figure prominently in the Web redesign and particularly the athletic and aquatic centers, appealing to a wider swath of potential members—Jewish and non-Jewish. Third party tools had to integrate intuitively into the redesign amidst content-rich navigation and improve ease-of-use. They also imagined a content management solution that made Web pages easily editable and put control in the hands of content owners.
Dayspring guided the PJCC stakeholders through developing four fictional personas, or representative Web users, that covered the breadth of the Center’s audiences including age, ethnicity, and membership status. Cynthia (the busy mother of three, not Jewish but married to Dan who is), Victor, (49-year-old attorney, Caucasian, not Jewish, prospective member), Jason (34-year-old product manager, Asian-American, prospective member), and Elaine (62-year-old retired teacher, Jewish, PJCC Community member) became the test of the appropriateness of the site’s visual and information design.
Dayspring’s designers deployed a Flash element to “show off” the new Center via a guided tour feature. Moving from one space to another Flash’s application-like interfaces added dynamism and impact to otherwise merely architectural images on a Web page. Dayspring’s developers wrote custom queries to a database that made it easier to find programs and classes and move directly to the registration system. With Macromedia’s Contribute as Dayspring’s recommended content management solution, PJCC content owners edit and update with ease and Dayspring offered a half-day of Contribute training — enough to have everyone up-to-speed.