The Challenge: Elevate the Website Experience
Texas Co-Op Power (TCP) is a magazine published by Texas Electric Cooperatives that offers the best of Texas stories along with important news and information from reader’s electric co-ops. The print magazine is circulated to more than 1.7 million co-op members, and the website provides an elevated digital experience with exclusive online content and features.
The previous version of texascooppower.com was over 11 years old, and while it was well-maintained it was also showing its age and in need of an overhaul. The frameworks, software, and programming libraries that powered the site were antiquated and in many cases no longer supported by modern browsers and servers. The hosting environment was reaching end-of-life, and the site performance was suffering as a result. In addition to the user experience, the design of the site was outdated and lacked the clean and modern aesthetic the customer wanted.
An overarching goal of the web redesign project was to increase site traffic, in order to boost ad revenue, by meeting programmatic ad buying standards. TCP was also looking to expand its audience to a younger generation and wanted to leverage the newly designed website to better promote their content.
The Solution: A Modern Website, and a Targeted Promotion Plan
The Hahn team started with an audit of the existing website, documenting all the existing functionality and features that would carry over to the new site. The existing website had a robust user experience that needed to be replicated in the new environment. Some of the features we needed to support included:
- Articles: Both statewide and with versions that would be customized for specific member co-ops
- Contests: Including the ability for admins to manage contest submissions
- Events: Paid events, featured events, events filtered by location
- User profiles: Including the ability for users to select their local co-op to see customized content
- Issue archive: With magazine going all the way back to 2010
Hahn started the re-design with wireframes. Wireframes allow designers to explore the website in black and white without the distraction of color or images. For the TCP website, we knew there were several features the client wanted to keep mixed with new layouts they wanted to achieve. We also knew they wanted to add new advertising revenue streams throughout the entire site in a way they hadn’t done before. With the wireframes we focused on the primary top level pages to create a logical user flow. We collaborated with the client on content and features to make certain we were in agreement with all the bells and whistles needed.
Wireframes (on the left) start with desktop views and help us figure out the lay of the land. Design mockups (on the right) show pixel-for-pixel desktop and mobile views, and how fonts and color should be applied.
As we started, we knew the photography and articles needed to be the star of the show. At the same time, the rest of the site needed to feel modern and clean but free from clutter, allowing users to comfortably read articles on desktop screens or mobile phones. We took cues from TCP’s printed magazine and used design elements to help readers feel like they had a similar experience on the web as they had in print. This meant using similar fonts, design styles, and patterns to make it feel like a seamless experience. We took special care to set up typography in a sophisticated and meaningful way by deliberately mixing type styles. These subtle design elements guide the user throughout their site journey.
After weeks of wireframe and design creation, we were ready to start development. The team worked around the clock to meet our end-of-year deadline and bring the vision to life. Our focus in development is to build a system of reusable components, and to keep our code clean and DRY.
We also had the challenge of migrating over the following 10 years’ worth of historical content from the previous site.
Who want to experience a seamless experience when visiting the new website.
Featuring rich content and imagery.
EVENTS & CONTESTS
Featuring user-submitted content.
From years past; each with a bevy of searchable content.
That members have come to rely on for new dishes.
That populate stories and tell a story of Texas through the years.
The goal of our digital campaign was to let the new website and user experience speak for itself. Rather than a big announcement of a new site launch, we encouraged TCP to promote their best content. If the content was engaging and the website was enjoyable to use, the audience would build from there. We designed a 2-month campaign scheduled between January and March, with digital ads running in newsletters, on Facebook, and programmatically.
The Result: More Users, Better Engagement
The new texascooppower.com speaks for itself: a clean look, a fast user experience, and an intuitive user interface that allows readers to fully engage with the content and site features.
Since the new site launched in December 2021, TCP has seen a significant increase in web traffic year-over-year: more users, more new users, increased user sessions and number of sessions per user.
In new users visiting the website.
In the number of pages viewed by visitors.
In the average time users are spending on the website.
The targeted paid campaign succeeded in driving more, new, and better traffic to the site; and with the improved design, performance and user experience, visitors are staying longer and doing more on the site.