Founded in 2013 by the Garden Justice Legal Initiative, Grounded in Philly aimed its civic project at helping Philadelphians with food insecurity as well as providing resources, tools, and information for community members to secure access to land and create community gardens and urban farms. The organization sought to find information about the city’s vacant land and land management policies and to help redistribute unused land for community good. In the years that have followed, Grounded in Philly has transformed over 140 vacant lots and brought the community together. Historically, the Public Interest Law Center also implemented a law that paved the way for the Philadelphia Land Bank during the earlier version of this project.
The cause is an excellent one, but the old Grounded in Philly website was unclear, providing negative user experience. At Key Medium, we aimed to provide clear resources for users through design strategy and user experience testing.
Before tackling the outside web design, the site needed on-page technical SEO fixes following an audit, including mobile-first and mobile-optimization, which, along with a new campaign strategy, allowed for an increase in organic traffic and social media awareness.
But more traffic wouldn’t have meant anything if users didn’t want to stay on the site and navigation was unclear as it was on the old website. For the new website, we focused on creating simple navigation at the top with four navigation actions: Pathways, Resources, Grapevine, and Register.
‘Pathways’ allowed users to understand what they want to do: whether that user wants to start a community garden, farm, or open space; securing access or finding ownership of their farm or land; or joining the urban agricultural community, buying local, or helping out.
‘Resources’ provided a set page for guidelines, easier to read advice, reports, posts, including ways to get funding, request representation, secure insurance, and much more. Having the resources in one page made navigation clear and logical for users with a self-service experience.
The ‘Grapevine’ was created as a space for forums, and a way to connect users to each other, which was previously missing from the old website. The Grapevine allows community members to ask questions, celebrate success, find their neighbors, and organize around a local vacant lot.
Finally, the ‘Register’ tab allowed people to get in touch with the Grounded in Philly organizers and become a member of the community. The side navigation on this page also points users to additional resources should they need them.
Overall, the navigation is no longer confusing, the technical SEO elements are fixed, the website page structure makes sense, and the website is user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and optimized for search and voice search.
The current website guides visitors clearly to the information they need: if they want to start a garden, own a parcel of land, or join an existing community garden, and much more.
The website has since won five awards for its one-stop resource for those seeking urban agriculture opportunities.
Within six months of launching…
- Organic traffic grew by 28%
- Users increased by 31%
- Organic search results rose by 13%
- Social media traffic increased by 260%
The results for the site continue to grow.
Giving back to the community
For the nonprofit Grounded in Philly and the Law Center’s Garden Justice Legal Initiative. Key Medium donating the new brand identity, web development budget, hosting budget, advertising spend, and consulting expertise for this project. The new website and initiative overall has worked to help a sizeable portion of the over 300,000 Philadelphians facing food insecurity and over 175,000 without green space–and that’s a cause Key Medium is proud to support.
For design strategy and user experience services, please get in touch and tell us about your project.