Mount Vernon Triangle CID

Design, Development

When web platforms aren’t properly nurtured, there is a tendency for them to become bogged down with ineffectual content, outdated design, and complicated information architecture.

Should web platforms be ignored for too long, that eventually leads to site owners’ inability to convey the image and brand they intended. In a digital world where websites serve as most people’s first impression of a business, archaic online platforms can do a number in stunting a company’s growth and influence.

We wanted to pinpoint
things that were limiting
the neighborhood in
communicating its true identity.

Introducing the Mount Vernon Triangle
Community Improvement District CID

Over 15 years ago, the area known as Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District CID was born in the Nation’s Capital. Since its inception, the area has become one of Washington DC’s most notable neighborhoods. It represents the city’s rich history and today’s diverse culture. Currently, the neighborhood extends 17 blocks within the east end of downtown and extends to 7th Street, Massachusetts Avenue, New York Avenue, and New Jersey Avenue. The community is also home to some of the city’s most popular restaurants and bars, and most innovative businesses.

Unfortunately, the main vehicle with which the neighborhood used to convey its charm and appeal was outdated. It didn’t have the nuances of current web trends and didn’t portray where the neighborhood is heading. The community’s board of directors realized these issues and decided it was time for an overhaul of the locality’s web platform.

Enters Model B

The Mount Vernon CID Board of Directors hired Model B to usher the community’s website into the future. Our job was to create a modern platform that conveyed the area’s evolving identity. And while the board wanted the neighborhood’s history to serve as the enticing bait, they wanted the area’s promising future to be the actual hook to catch new visitors, possible residents, and potential developers. It was important that the pending website not only fulfill these objectives, but also achieve the overarching goal of creating a modern and scalable platform for Mount Vernon Triangle CID.

Our Findings

To deliver this great product that the client would be happy with, we combed through the then-existing Mount Vernon CID website. We wanted to pinpoint things that were limiting the neighborhood in communicating its true identity. What was noticeable right away, was the website felt very static. There was a lack of photos, videos, maps, charts, and other visually captivating elements that are often used to provide site visitors with more of an interactive experience. Sites with large amounts of block texts, hiding a limited number of photos, often serve as a repellent for internet users.

And because the former website was static, there lacked ease relaying new and exciting events and ventures happening in the area. The neighborhood was changing, and the website didn’t do a good job of showcasing that. Users weren’t immediately directed to links where they could access news, schedule of events, and other updates. This was an issue that we had to address as a major goal of the Mount Vernon Triangle CID Board of Directors was to showcase the evolution of the community.

The former website also lacked adaptability in terms of user experience (UX). Unfortunately, it didn’t speak to the different stakeholders the board of visitors wanted to address (future residents, future developers, and future visitors). While these various stakeholders in some ways have similar missions visiting the website, they also have specialized intentions that can’t be addressed with one general set of pages.

Lastly, from a user interface (UI) perspective, the site wasn’t designed from a mobile-first vantage point. Considering most internet users today are primarily surfing the web on their mobile devices and not their desktops and laptops, that was problematic. Nothing quite dates a website more than a platform that has long load times and missing or distorted images on phones.

The Approach

Addressing the static nature of the Mount Vernon Triangle CID website, we made several changes. For starters, we introduced a carousel slider into the header of the homepage. This gave the neighborhood the ability to instantly display important project development updates, upcoming events, and interesting community news. Also, we used vivid and purposeful images to break blocks of texts in an attempt to gain more engagement from site users.

Solving for the UX issues, we made sure to include sections on the homepage that addressed each segment of stakeholders. Now on the homepage, some sections speak explicitly to future residents, some to future developers, and others to those looking for somewhere interesting and exciting to visit. Additionally, we revolutionized the map section of the website. There is now a retail map to display where inhabitants and visitors can go for their food and entertainment needs, and a development map to showcase spaces currently built or under construction.

Modernizing the website would have all been for naught had we done so from a mobile-first perspective. Relying on our expertise and tools, we created the newly-crafted internet platform with a responsive web design in mind. We made sure any renovations to the website were fully-functional with the various phone operating systems, and users wouldn’t incur problematic instances of zooming, panning, and scrolling when on the Mount Vernon Triangle CID website. Also, we made sure that any features incorporated in the site revamp didn’t cause slow load times or lags.

The Outcome

To deliver this great product that the client would be happy with, we combed the then-existing Mount Vernon CID website. We wanted to pinpoint things that were limiting the neighborhood in communicating its true identity. What was noticeable right away, was the website felt very static. There was a lack of photos, videos, maps, charts, and other visually captivating elements that are often used to provide site visitors with more of an interactive experience. Sites with large amounts of block texts hiding a limited number of photos, often serve as a repellent for internet users.

Looking Forward

In line with the way we approach web development, we built Mount Vernon Triangle CID a scalable and editable platform that the client could learn to manage themselves. Months following the launch, the board of directors regularly integrates new content on the website. And they do so with ease. Furthermore, the board of directors tasked us with developing an email newsletter template that’s currently used to send routine communications to the community’s listserv via MailChimp.

Should your company’s website be in the market for a much-needed facelift, don’t hesitate to contact Model B. We’d love to work with you in recreating a web presence that is sure to elicit engagement, and will advance your business into the future.

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