Damar, based in Indianapolis, is one of the nation’s leaders in serving people with developmental, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities. Their tagline is: Remarkable People. Remarkable Results. And they truly live up to that in terms of their care philosophy, quality of care, and level of expertise. We wanted to craft a website for them that communicated their impact, passion, and expertise. Here’s how we did it.
- Communicate with multiple audiences: Damar needed a website that could speak to a range of audiences with a range of needs and direct them towards information and answers. The website needed to address caregivers and parents who are looking for everything from residential and respite care to diagnosis and treatment options. We also needed to provide career information for job seekers, referral information for the Department of Child Services employees, and fundraising and charitable giving information for donors.
- Demonstrate Damar’s expertise: Damar is an organization unlike any other in their industry, both from a range of services and a philosophy of care standpoint. Their exceptional people, clients, knowledge, expertise, and approach to care needed to be front and center.
- Organize and present services and ongoing project information: Because Damar serves a wide range of clients, at varying ages, and with varying needs, they operate a wide range of services—from ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy for children with autism, along with adolescent, transitional, and adult services to foster care and crisis care. They also undertake ongoing work and projects to improve and expand their service line and residential capacity.
- Provide a backdrop for their ongoing capital campaign: When we began working with them, Damar had just launched the public giving phase of their Road to Remarkable capital campaign, and we wanted the website to be able to provide more information for and support their fundraising efforts.
- Create a website experience that’s accessible for everyone: Most importantly, we wanted to create something that was not only ADA accessible but also accessible in terms of clarity of information and ease of navigation in order to provide an intuitive experience for people with varying degrees of ability.
What We Did
- Held website and design discovery meetings: First things first, we wanted to understand Damar’s pain points with the current website, and how we could help solve those issues. To make sure we delivered what they were looking for, and more importantly, what their audiences were looking for, we talked with them about everything from content and functionality to design and creative.
- Audited their website and competitor websites: We wanted to see the online presence and website functionality of Damar and similar organizations and found that most websites fell short of providing the clear, concise answers parents, caregivers, and people with disabilities need.
- Created and (re-created) the sitemap: For this project, our sitemap went through a lot of iterations, starting from a slew of color-coordinated post-it notes that took up half of our company gathering table. Those eventually became a distilled graphic that showed all pages on the website, the relationship between them, and how we suggested organizing the information flow to help visitors navigate it.
- Used GatherContent to organize content and collaborate with the client: We have amazing writers and producers on staff, but we’re not experts on developmental disabilities, so we needed Damar’s help with writing some content throughout the website. GatherContent created an easy process for sharing outlines and drafts, while also keeping track of versions and updates across users.
- Audited and migrated existing blog content: Damar’s blog had a lot of resources, client stories, and information that we wanted to bring over to the new website. The easiest way to migrate that information was to have Damar’s staff select the content they wanted to keep, and then we organized it into sections for the new blog. We also set up 301 redirects for blog URLs that we weren’t moving over to the new site.
- New content + better organization of existing content: We created a new section of the website called Understanding Developmental Disabilities, aimed at providing basic educational information that was lacking across websites of similar organizations. It showcases Damar’s expertise and provides guidance and clarity for those who don’t live with or know someone with a developmental disability. We also improved their internal linking practices and reorganized their existing content and resources in a way that could take visitors directly to answers without hassle, or take them on a more educational journey before arriving at a solution.
- People-first photography/design: Creative and photography are difficult for most organizations, but especially for organizations like Damar. Through a lot of hard work from Damar, and support from our team, we had a large library of images and creative assets to work with that showcased Damar’s actual clients, employees, families, and facilities.
- ADA compliance, ease of navigation, and accessibility: From an ADA compliance standpoint, the website passes with flying colors. But, beyond that, through use of clear content and CTAs, internal linking, and images and graphics, the website experience is one that is accessible to almost anyone, no matter their age or ability level.
- Improved blog structure: We wanted the blog to highlight their client and employee stories, along with more educational and thought leader-style content. They had great blog content to start with, so we reorganized it into categories that make it easy for visitors to find, read, and browse.
Take a Look
In the end, we produced a website that we’re proud of, for a client we’re even prouder to work with. The work Damar does, and the people they serve are truly remarkable, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to help them showcase it.