TradeMark launches NavigateLifeTexas.org to help families and children with special needs
Posted by Andrew Buckon July 6, 2015
With the launch of NavigateLifeTexas.org, parents and caregivers in Texas now have a comprehensive, online hub of resources and tools to help support their children with disabilities and health care needs – from birth through adulthood.
At TradeMark Media, we’re honored to have designed and built this one-of-a-kind website in coordination with the Texas Interagency Task Force for Children With Special Needs.
The task force and TradeMark Media faced countless challenges when setting out to build NavigateLifeTexas.org, including:
There isn’t another website in the country like the one envisioned by the task force. Everything had to be constructed from the ground up and without a model to follow.
The task force comprises about two dozen individual stakeholders from eight state agencies, all coordinated through through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Not to mention the teams of parents who reviewed design and content; the Children’s Policy Council; and other vendors working on the project (including Texas Parent to Parent, UPG Video, Progress UX, Barton Wilder Photography, and SUMA Social Marketing – the last of which did the research that formed the basis of the site’s strategy).
In order to coordinate the successful design and construction of a state website this enormous – and with so many stakeholders and advisors involved – the project process would need to be airtight. At each stage, and over the course of a year, feedback would be accumulated from countless individuals and groups; key milestones had to be met; partner agencies needed to be kept in the loop; and the task force needed regular updates on all aspects of the website’s progress.
In the midst of the nitty gritty, day-to-day management of the website project, the families it aimed to serve should inform all decision-making.
Easy, Practical, and Comprehensive Content
When parents were up at 2 a.m., worried about their children, they needed a website that would lead them exactly where they needed to go. Content would need to be written in a way parents would understand. And finally, it should be comprehensive. No stones unturned, no information unshared.
Accessible and Responsive to Everyone
The website needed to be accessible and responsive to everyone, regardless of their native language, disability, or the device on which they would visit it.
Don’t Forget the Service Providers
While the website’s primary audience is parents and families, a key secondary audience are the medical professionals, health care service providers, and schools, who are so integral to the process.
In coordination with the Task Force for Children with Special Needs (CSN), TradeMark Media designed, built, and launched NavigateLifeTexas.org in early July 2015. Some of the highlights include:
With NavigateLifeTexas.org, Texas is now the national leader in the online support of parents of kids with disabilities. Every state agency that serves these families – including HHSC, the Department of Family and Protective Services, the Texas Education Agency, and a half-dozen others – contributed to the site’s design, content, and promotion.
Simply put: If you have a child with a disability or health care need, NavigateLifeTexas.org has the answers.
The Right Content
Months of research were conducted before a single line of code was written. In consultation with subject matter experts, the website was written for parents by parents, resulting in a holistic website that addresses all disabilities from birth on. Medical concerns, insurance questions, education, behavioral health, housing, employment – everything is covered. And the tone of the site is plainspoken, direct, and practical.
The website is meant to empower families. It’s bright, open, readable, and lively. It’s inviting. Additionally, the task force wisely invested in custom photography and video production to lend the site’s its own look and feel.
Interactive and Engaging
This website isn’t a simple “data dump.” Thanks to custom photography and videos – along with interactive tools such as a location-based searches for local services, events, and support groups curated by the project team – the site encourages visitors to stay engaged with the wide array of resources available.
In the first days of the website’s existence, more than 60% of visitors viewed the site on a mobile device. Thanks to our sophisticated mobile-responsive development process, their experience is just as comprehensive and elegant as desktop visitors’.
Ensuring that everyone could use the site regardless of their visual or auditory disability was easy for us, because every website we build adheres to the strictest accessibility standards.
En Español Tambien
Every section the new website was translated and integrated by native Spanish speakers, ensuring Spanish-speaking families have the same online experience as anyone. The Spanish URL is AvancemosJuntosTexas.org.
In addition to designing and building the website, we also conducted a full search engine optimization audit (SEO) and implementation, and an extensive Google AdWords campaign.
The Final Word
This website is a bit of a watershed moment for us at TradeMark. From a project management perspective, it was the most involved and complex project we’ve led. In the end, we coordinated content and recommendations from hundreds of people on dozens of individual topics. We provided the Task Force for Children with Special Needs with a full range of services – from initial architecture through design and development and into usability testing and marketing.
TradeMark Media was founded 16 years ago because we believed we could make the Internet a better place. Sites like NavigateLifeTexas.org prove that.
In the News
The launch of NavigateLifeTexas.org made news reports across the state. Here's a sampling:
- "Texas creates state website for children with special needs" - KXAN (Austin)
- "New website aims to help families, children with special needs" - Action 4 News (The Valley)
- "Texas launches new website – built by parents, for parents – to help children with special needs" - Business Wire