Get Georgia Reading has raised the hands of government officials, businesses and other non-profits to ask the hard hitting question: why was the 3rd grade literacy rate at a stunning 34% in the state of Georgia? At the root of the problem were lessons in systemic biases, lack of resources and a translation of unequal opportunity.
With an initiative to make reading proficiency among all 3rd graders a reality by 2020, the organization pulled together more than 2,500 businesses, organizations and individuals to support the possibility of an equal future for all.
Get Georgia Reading trusted Skyrocket to lead the architecture of a newly revised website that could leverage its community. Having a strong support base with a shared interest in Georgia’s youth literacy rates, Get Georgia Reading became the pedagogue for engagement and dialogue that could inspire collaborations beyond the common agenda. What we at Skyrocket discovered was a new school of thought where one can create an initiative and do it well, while simultaneously strategizing how to propel the community, long after the vision is complete.
The Four Pillars
The effectiveness of Get Georgia Reading can be attributed to their solution-led thought process and decision-making. The problem was ensuring all the accumulated data, updates and assets were synchronous and wouldn’t be cramming the visitor with too much information. Our whiteboard brainstorms revealed that continuity could be achieved throughout the organization’s four main pillars: Access, Learning Climate, Teacher Preparation and Language Nutrition.
“This initiative includes some very complex issues,” explained Skyrocket Account Manager, Jorge Amigo, “and when you enter a website that is basically laid out into four areas that are clearly defined, it helps the user have an intuitive experience without getting lost.”
Just as Get Georgia Reading guides its own actions with these key factors in mind, we based the website’s navigation, data collection, partner directory and blog around the very same values.
The decision to uniform the website and organizational values meant we could move away from a traditional drop-down menu and instead created a navigational bar that would emphasize all four areas. We then allowed each partner to associate themselves with one or more of the pillars, facilitating a relationship between the people involved, their resources and how they are advancing youth literacy.
From Data to Drawings
Get Georgia Reading has a reputation in reporting back to partners with action plans that are backed up with hard-hitting data.
The consistency in the organization’s use of brand colours and bright infographics became the inspiration behind our decision to transplant those visuals into creating additional illustrations throughout the site.
The organization’s original drawings featured a sketch-style feel that gave a child-like honest aesthetic. UX Designer, Arman Keyvanskhou, remixed many of these visual elements on the homepage. “The site already had nice hand-drawn illustrations to be used for infographics and as iconography,” he emphasized, “but I felt like I needed to create characters that had more personality attached to them to be used alongside stories.” The girl looking up at the homepage was one of the first illustrations imagined. Not only does she set the look and feel for when one scrolls down, but she visually emphasizes the copy so the content of the website is apparent at a glance.
Get Georgia Reading has been a curriculum of its own for raising youth literacy since 2009. With many years dedicated to spreading awareness, many more were spent in creating meaningful partnerships with actionable impact. It was important that the website showcased the organization’s importance in community and collaboration. We used NationBuilder to enable Get Georgia Reading to create an online experience beyond existing as an educational flyer.
“Not only does the website have the functionality to allow citizens to join and become part of the cause, it also allows partners to talk to each other, network, and understand who’s working on what,” Amigo detailed.
Partners, including individual supporters, could register on the website to create a profile that would allow them to specifically associate their support to one or more of the four pillars. This provided them the opportunity to have ownership of a profile page that reported on blog content, accomplishments and changes actualized with the help of their support. “In the long run, it will help all the partners realize there are other organizations working on the same goal,” Jorge concluded, “and that’s the real beauty of the website.”
Sharing a common agenda and purpose with our clients sits first and foremost in everything we do at Skyrocket. “I love the phrase ‘to change a culture, change the stories.’ That was our intention when we set out to build the 2.0 version of the website,” Creative Director of Get Georgia Reading, Jenn Graham expressed, “we wanted a community platform where our partners shared their own stories of how they were working to Get Georgia Reading. This website did exactly that.” Fortunately for us at Skyrocket, working with socially-impactful partners like the team at Get Georgia Reading means we move another step closer to fulfilling our mandate of empowering changemakers and leaders across various industries.