The YMCA of the Triangle Story:
Advanced Drupal Development

The YMCA of the Triangle has been enriching the lives of families in the area for over 150 years, providing programs to improve the mental and physical health of its members. The local organization spans 13 branches, and caters to a diverse group of users in age range, interests, and locations, and their website plays a huge role in interacting with members and prospective members.

The Challenge

With an average of 60,000 unique visitors per month, the website required us to think broadly while still keeping sight of the details that would appeal to both current and prospective members.

Each branch needed a custom page to showcase their unique programs, offerings, events, and initiatives. Current members needed to find information quickly, and prospective members needed a great user experience to determine the best location and package for their families.

User Experience Testing

We held two rounds of usability testing to gather feedback from existing YMCA members and non-members to ensure that our website planning was based on research rather than guesses about target audience behaviors and preferences.

Testing was built into our process and integrated at key milestones - design comp testing as well beta testing on the development environment where current members and non-members could actually walk through the working site by performing structured real-world tasks. Through each testing round, we were able to make key decisions on changes to the website that would ultimately improve the user experience so that the site catered to both target audiences post-launch.

Find Your Perfect Y

Between 13 central branches with various amenities and specialized programs, finding the perfect fit for an individual or family membership can be a daunting task. We set out to make it easy for prospective members to find their perfect Y utilizing the Drupal platform and custom PHP development to create widgets that seamlessly guide the user to a personalized recommendation based on their needs.

Utilizing a zip code search feature, and a pre-populated list of amenities - we allowed users to specify exactly what they were looking for in a YMCA membership. Our tool provides users with their top 3 matches and then allows them to explore membership options further and even calculate their specific membership rate based on family size.

These tools not only take the burden off of the user to individually research each branch, but also make the website a new star employee by increasing conversions and taking strain off of branch offices in fielding membership questions from prospects.

Try out our custom tools for yourself on the YMCA of the Triangle’s website, or read more about how we leveraged these tools for a specific membership drive campaign.

A screenshot of the YMCA finder widget A screenshot of the YMCA finder widget results A source image used for compositing

Website Design

Working with YMCA Staff

While much of our enterprise Drupal development planning focused on the end users of the new website, we also had to consider the internal YMCA staff members who would be using the site on a daily basis.

Each branch director needed the ability to create dynamic branch pages with up to date blog posts, hours and closing information, events, and other special promotions. Additionally, we wanted to empower YMCA staff to upload optimized content that would improve the site’s SEO health with each new page.

We integrated SEO planning into the very build of the site, requiring fields for keywords, meta descriptions and H1 tags in each piece of content. We then put together personalized training plans for YMCA staff members to educate them on how to generate optimized content for their branches.

Training also included technical instruction so that the staff felt comfortable maintaining the website. We provided a special training environment for staff to practice and become familiar with the interface, which also gave us a chance to modify the back-end user experience based on what made the most sense for their internal work flow.

This collaboration ultimately lead to a site that could be successfully self-maintained internally without a reliance on Coalmarch for content entry and updates for day-to-day business functions across the association.

Before & After

YMCA Before and After

Adhering to the new YMCA corporate visual guidelines, the new site is much more user friendly, easy to update for administrators, and connects content in ways that far exceed the previous iteration.

The Result

A well thought out, well planned website for the YMCA of the Triangle that addresses the needs of tens of thousands of visitors each month. By creating custom engagements for each branch we have enabled individual branch communication managers to have more control than ever over their content. Content and functionality come together on the site for a winning combination!

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