New England Center for Children

Effective, evidence-based educational services to the Autism community

  • Digital Content Strategy
  • Compelling User Experience
  • Integration with CRM
  • Website Redesign and two microsites

New England Center for Children

The New England Center for Children (NECC), a private, Non-profit organization out of Southborough, Massachusetts, is one of the most respected autism institutes in the world, providing effective, evidence-based educational services to the Autism community. Built on the goals of funding research, advancing related technology and sharing knowledge, The New England Center for Children® is dedicated to transforming the lives of children with autism worldwide, and to being a global leader in providing educational services to the millions of underserved children with autism. The NECC hired The Web Development Group (WDG) to improve user experience, create a Homepage that better illustrated the mission and credibility of NECC, provide research and discovery, content strategy, redesign of the website’s information architecture, as well as the web design of a completely new and updated WordPress website, plus two additional microsites.

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Creating 3 Consistent Sites

One of the challenges our webdesign team faced was simultaneously creating a consistent concept for three different, but affiliated projects: the main NECC corporate website and two additional microsites for Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) and the Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia (ACE). Currently utilizing a whimsical feel, the NECC sought to employ a more professional and credible web design that illustrated their position as a global leader in Autism education and research. Our Washington DC based web design team used this as the driving point for all three projects, creating consistency through color, messaging, calls to action and imagery. A strategic color theme was selected to create the authoritative essence the organization was seeking, while use of relatable imagery offered the user an approachable experience. Our in-house team of dedicated strategist researched and tested various calls to action, fabricating verbiage that was extremely clear, for smooth and effective navigation through the site(s), which was successful in offering a pleasing user experience while ensuring that viewers were receiving the correct information they were after. And intelligible but urbane use of content and tone of voice were engaged to promote credibility, while still being gracious towards the targeted families and educators. These standards were utilized throughout the three projects, offering all a consistent design and feel, plus improved prepotence and standing as a leader in the field.

High-definition Wireframes

To offer our client the most insightful look into their proposed site, during the initial design phase, The Web Development Group supplied The New England Center for Children with numerous high-definition wireframes, or a skeleton of images which illustrates the structure and functionality of a website. Opposed to flat sketches of the intended concept, our designers crafted interactive wireframes to include image suggestions, button stylings, font choices, link treatment and actual body copy, thus giving the client the best possible imagery of what the end result will look like on smartphones, tablets and desktop devices.

Mobile Responsiveness

Also integrated into the redesign of the NECC site, was use of a mobile-responsive approach. ExactTarget, 2014 Mobile Behavior Report says that 27% of consumers will leave a site if it is not mobile-optimized, and the relaying of pertinent information was of the highest priority for the organization, so designing a site with a strong mobile presence was key. To tackle this, the WDG web design and development team crafted responsive WordPress websites, that could comfortably maintain the complex series of landing pages and information presented in NECC’s site. WDG utilizes both Drupal and WordPress for their open source platform, large community of users, and lack of expensive licenses. And for NECC, we recommended WordPress, making use of the diverse plugins available, and the ability to integrate seamlessly with CRMs.

Integrating the CRM

Further, because customer relations is crucial for The New England Center for Children, the organization required a tool that would allow the organization to stay on top of leads, and provide the most perceptive customer service to the children and families. To serve this need, WDG built a functionality that integrated web forms with NECC SalesForce system, allowing the website to communicate with the organization’s CRM. This ensured that all inbound inquires were seamlessly submitted to their system, which allowed for quick follow up by the customer service and sales team. NECC experienced a drastic increase in customer service satisfaction, as questions are quickly answered, needs are hurriedly met and children and families feel valued and appreciated.

Creating an Interactive Calendar Feature

In addition, The New England Center for Children hosts various webinars, seminars, fundraising events and training programs, so the web design and development team was tasked with building an interactive calendar, as well as a registration portal. To accomplish this, WDG customized a WordPress Calendar Pro, utilizing various features and customization to match the exact needs of NECC. The tool integrated site forms with SalesForce, NECC’s CRM, resulting in not only a functional and user-friendly registration process, as well as a clean and intuitive organizational tool for event management, but also in an increase in the number of website registrations and a larger event turnout overall.

NECC Calendar detail

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