Gateway Community Industries is an unsung not-for-profit organization that has a major positive impact on Ulster and Dutchess Counties. They were founded in 1956, and provide residential, therapeutic, rehabilitative and vocational opportunities for local people with mental and/or physical disabilities.
They have two offices spaces in Kingston and manage a number of residential properties throughout the Hudson Valley, and also serve a number of businesses and organizations through their commercial cleaning and catering businesses.
For over 60 years, Gateway’s dedicated leadership and staff have stayed laser-focused on serving the community in a wide variety of ways. However, their existing website was stretched far beyond its original purpose, and the dense maze of existing and conflicting content was turning into an impediment for community members who wanted to take advantage of Gateway’s services.
They needed a website that would make it easier for Gateway to serve its many different stakeholders, including:
- Existing clients/patients/residents who need day-to-day information and news
- Prospective caretakers, healthcare professionals and clients who are vetting different options
- Potential community partners who are learning about Gateway for the first time
- Potential clients for their cleaning and catering services
- New and existing donors who need an easy way to see upcoming events and contribute
We started by organizing all existing content from Gateway’s old website, where dozens of service lines and departments were intermingled. It was a challenge to re-organize all of the pages into a format that was digestible and not overwhelming, but still speaks to the breadth of services offered. We also interviewed every department within the organization about their needs. We used those exercises as inputs for a wireframe and new sitemap, and we were able to get valuable feedback from the client early in the process that helped make design and development straightforward.
Responsive Web Design
Once we reorganized all content and agreed on the different audiences for the site, we proceeded to the design process. We used industry-standard accessibility practices to ensure that all of Gateway’s stakeholders would be able to navigate the site, using big, easy-to-read buttons and high-contrast colors. Additionally, each service line has its own color-coordination scheme, making it extra clear to users when they’re in a “Residential” vs. “Therapeutic” area of the site. We also used as many photos of real Gateway clients and employees as possible.
One of Gateway’s audiences is existing clients and employees, and since Gateway is located in the Hudson Valley, weather-related closings and delays are a major part of life. We included custom functionality on the top of every page for Gateway stakeholders to publish delays and closings.
In addition to reshuffling content from the existing website and brochures, we used stakeholder interviews to create new content, with an emphasis on easy-to-read visuals that show the impact of different services. For the services of commercial cleaning and catering, we wrote content and used local search engine optimization tactics to ensure that people who are looking for those specific things can get directly to the pages, without having to know to visit the main Gateway homepage first. Today, prospective clients who have never heard of Gateway are seeing the services when they search for terms like “hudson valley commercial cleaning” or “caterer near me.”