Community Design Collaborative
The Community Design Collaborative provides pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in and around Philadelphia, offering volunteer opportunities to design professionals, and raises awareness about the importance of design in community revitalization. As a part of the design community in Philadelphia, it was an honor to work with the Collaborative’s team in redesigning their website to celebrate their volunteers and showcase the incredible projects they’ve shepherded and impact they’ve made in the city.
Here were some of the things that were important to us throughout the project.
Draw people to the projects.
When asked “What do we absolutely have to get right?” in initial interviews, almost every stakeholder stated that the most important focus of the new website was to showcase past work in order to best communicate who the Collaborative is through the wide range of work.
With records and data from hundreds of projects in their database, we quickly knew that the Collaborative’s impressive portfolio of work would be the driving force behind the website.
We employed several ideas generated from the a stakeholder workshop including the ability to carefully curate and highlight specific projects, as well as filtering through projects based on a variety of tags (Open Space, Economic Development, Education), and a map feature indicates the extent of the Collaborative’s impact in the city.
Help your helpers.
Many of the Collaborative's volunteers are young designers and architects just starting out their careers, some of whom are looking for more experience and to work on projects they might not typically get to encounter in their jobs. Stakeholders felt that the Collaborative should leverage the value of volunteer support and highlight the expansive network of volunteers and partners. In hearing how essential the Collaborative’s volunteers are to their projects, we designed a way for volunteers to tell their stories on the Collaborative’s website through profiles.
Using a tagging system, profiles can be automatically populated and highlight projects that the volunteer has worked on, articles they have contributed to the website’s Design Digest, and quotes or testimonials attributed to them.
It’s about the process.
Stakeholders consistently shared with us that, in some ways, the approach and process the Collaborative follows leads to more impactful results than the tangible outcomes of a project, like drawings or design renderings. Additionally, we recognized there is a complexity to and range of services the Collaborative offers. To address and communicate both, we developed a “process timeline” widget for the website, that can be placed anywhere within the site and easily edited through the administrative interface.
The timeline can feature different information based on contextual placement on the website, and is interactive, scrolling to reveal next steps. Additionally, pages were designed to highlight featured process images, as well as finished renderings or professional photography.