Located on 660 acres of reclaimed urban green space, FortWhyte Alive is a nature centre, an experiential learning organization, a tourism destination and a working farm wrapped in one gorgeous location
Thousands of children and adults visit FortWhyte every year to take a step back, breathe a little more deeply, and connect with nature. A child arrives on a school bus and leaves with an oak leaf collage that will hang on her bedroom wall for many years. An older couple might attend a lecture and, in their car on the way home, realize that they can start a prairie garden in their own backyard. FortWhyte Alive brings people together to share memorable experiences and to create sustainable relationships with nature and with each other.
FortWhyte asked Manoverboard to find a way to communicate the beauty, majesty and complexity of the organization to its multiple audiences online. These include prospective visitors of every stripe: individual donors and volunteers, educators, parents, members and young adults. We met with the team, conducted focus groups and researched best practices around nature center communications. We also examined the FortWhyte brand, which is well established and well implemented by its internal communications team.
Our goals for the new site included improving the visitor experience with concise and helpful content that is easy to navigate and accessible by those with visual and other impairments. We also wanted to replicate online the journey of discovery FortWhyte Alive visitors have in-person.
We boiled down hundreds of pages of content into digestible and skimmable copy that engages, excites and educates. We built the site to Level A compliance with the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. And no matter what kind of device they’re on, visitors can quickly get to a page with no trouble. When viewing an info page detailing a FortWhyte Alive experience, the site presents the visitor with other activities they might enjoy allowing them to see what's available organically.
Technically, we spent a good part of our engagement integrating and customizing numerous third-party tools. The website, built in a customized WordPress platform, uses an integrated third-party calendar, a membership management system, and donation platform. We either built these tools directly into the new website or styled them to look and feel like they belong to the website. This not only ensures a seamless experience for visitors but allows FortWhyte’s administrators to use best-in-class platforms tied into the website.
Throughout the process of redesigning our website, we were incredibly pleased with the professionalism, attention to detail and eye for design that Manoverboard's team brought to the table. Our needs are quite complex and recreating our web presence was a challenging endeavour, with a need to highlight diverse program offerings and appeal to different audiences. Manoverboard's staff were able to skillfully distill our requirements into an attractive and easy to navigate site that will serve our needs for many years to come.
— Ian Barnett, Vice President