Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
We received positive responses from a user survey we conducted after the launch of the site. We asked the users to rate the overall site experience and to cite design and ease of navigation. In all cases, close to 90% of the users said they were either extremely satisfied or very satisfied by each of those three factors. We asked if they encountered any technical issues, and close to 95% said they did not have any issues. The ones that were reported were actually mostly things that we would not be able to troubleshoot, meaning they did not seem to be related to the actual design of the site. We also asked, “Were you able to find what you were looking for?” and over 80% said yes.
In general, we’ve seen continued growth of traffic to our site including web traffic, increased downloads of publications, and video views on our site. A big piece of what we do as a center is we create different resources that translate the science of child development in a way that can be applied to policy and practice in the early childhood field. Therefore, a big piece of the project with Fresh Tilled Soil was creating a resource library that can be filtered and sorted by different categories, such as media type and topic. That was a big improvement for us over our previous site. It allows a lot more flexibility for the users to find what they’re looking for and to view different ways that resources are aggregated for them, depending on what they’re looking for. That’s been a huge improvement for us as well.
How did Fresh Tilled Soil perform from a project management standpoint?
From a project management standpoint, Fresh Tilled Soil was fantastic. I think the one piece of feedback that I had for them, and I shared this with them at the time, was the following: we had weekly meetings with them during the entire initial discovery and design phases, working on the wireframes, everything, up until the development. We signed off on everything and then handed it over to the developers. At that point, we stopped having those weekly meetings, and we were communicating mostly on Basecamp. For me, as the project lead on our end, at that point, it became a challenge to feel like I had regular status updates on where the developers were. I shared that feedback with Fresh Tilled Soil, they adjusted, and we started using the to-do list functionality in Basecamp, which I really appreciated. The developers had a list that they updated as they progressed through the project, and I was able to view it, which made me feel a lot better about knowing where we were on a day-to-day basis. That was important because we were developing the content for the website at the same time. For me, it was vital to be able to communicate with the rest of our team about how things were progressing with development, and when we were going to be ready to enter content into the website, etc. That was a piece of feedback that I shared with them, and I appreciated how quickly they responded to it.
Also, Fresh Tilled Soil was extremely flexible regarding scheduling from a project management side and also in allowing a member of our senior management team to be involved. She was interested in being involved in the process, but she didn't necessarily have the time to come every week. Fresh Tilled Soil was thoughtful enough to determine, according to her availability, what was the most effective use of the time that we had with her.
What did you find most impressive about Fresh Tilled Soil?
What I found most impressive about Fresh Tilled Soil was their approach to those deep dive workshops and taking the time to understand the goals of our project and our organization. The way they built usability testing and user research into their process was also remarkable. Fresh Tilled Soil came back to that throughout the entire process. I also appreciated Fresh Tilled Soil's flexibility in the final stages of the development piece, because we identified several things that we wanted to tweak near the end, and they were flexible with us about doing those and not being nitpicky around, “Is this beyond the scope of what we had agreed to?” I appreciated that flexibility.
Are there any areas Fresh Tilled Soil could improve?
I think the frequency of status updates during the development phase was the only thing they could have improved, but as I said they were very responsive to the feedback at the time. I prefer having the same level of communication and status updates that they have throughout the rest of the process and during the development phase as well.