American Community School

A restructured site to promote community engagement and an understanding of shared goals

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Display Image for ACS

Established in 1972, the American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS) is an independent, non-profit college-prep school with students from 80 different nationalities attending grades K through 12. A recognized leader in international education, the ACS provides an American-based program that prepares students for global citizenship. With an expanded, world-class school complex opening in 2023, the ACS needed a more dynamic and user-friendly web presence to engage their growing community.

The legacy ACS website was visually unappealing, poorly structured from a content point of view, and had a difficult-to-manage CMS. These factors combined to make the site confusing for users and time-consuming for administrators to upload or edit content. In addition, the site was slow to load and had no SEO optimization, which negatively impacted their ranking.

Vardot was chosen to build a new website aligned with ACS's key strategic goals of increased engagement and improved communication of their mission and programs. Partnering with the ACS project team, Vardot rebuilt the website from scratch and made improvements in a range of key areas. 

2x

Page Loading Speed

35%

Increase in Pageviews

27%

Increase in Users

Improvements

 

Refined Content Experience

The ACS website needed a complete content re-structure. Their site was a disorganized mix of uncategorized long and short-form content that made finding information difficult.

Vardot approached this challenge from the top down by completing a new sitemap to provide a content structure aligned with the ACS's objectives and user needs. Their existing content was then reworked into more consistent and accessible layouts to enhance their community's experience.

To help achieve the goal of improved audience engagement, parent and student portals were added to promote dialogue with these core communities. Parents are now able to access community directories, calendars, reports, and newsletters while students have access to e-learning support.

In addition, easy-to-find pages with seamless links to third-party school applications and donation platforms were included in the new build.

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Content categorization ACS
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ACS UX improvements

Advanced UX/UI

In line with the content restructure, Vardot redesigned the entire ACS site to be more visually appealing, responsive, and mobile-friendly. 

This greatly improved the accessibility of the site and led to increases in users and the number of page views.

As trusted Drupal partners, Vardot was able to implement the intuitive but powerful Layout Builder, which facilitates the creation of visual layouts for content display.

With a user-friendly drag and drop interface, this back-end functionality enables any non-technical administrator to create, populate, and optimize layout templates easily.

The reduction in resource overheads and time saved does not negatively impact the quality of the potential page layouts, as seen in this dynamic example from the new ACS site. 

The existing ACS media library was also disorganized, making finding specific content time-consuming for their content team.

Naming conventions were introduced to standardize the media library categorization and reduce the time needed to locate content. Catering to their specific page and content types, the naming conventions facilitated quick and easy content searches.

The entire media library with restructured and categorized content was then migrated to the new build.

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ACS phono

Enhanced SEO

With the legacy site having no SEO optimization, it was necessary to implement technical and on-page SEO best practices.

Drupal core is designed to cater to SEO requirements from site architecture to naming conventions, correct content tagging, and accessibility. Vardot also ensured that the ACS could easily maintain their on-page basics by automating the most common on-page SEO practices such as content tagging and URL generation. 

In addition, previous page load speeds were halved, improving both accessibility and site ranking potential.

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Results ACS

The Results

With greatly improved user experiences for their community and their own internal teams, the ACS is set up with a web presence that will facilitate their growth and engagement with key communities from parents to students, government stakeholders, and donors. 

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