New teaching resource website for Send a Cow

Lessons from Africa is a project that we’ve been busy creating for Send a Cow, and it's great to see it go live! As a development of their existing 'Cowfiles' site, Lessons from Africa is an online resource for African education materials for Key Stage 1-4 teachers to use within their classrooms.

We began this project by creating a new name, starting with four brand touchstones: Quality, Clarity, Accessible and Trustworthy. After brainstorming and development with Send a Cow we named the new site 'Lessons from Africa' - using the double meaning to refer to the content and also celebrate the positive learning Africa has to offer. We then created a full brand identity including bespoke illustrations that could be used throughout the website design.

With the new identity in place we set about the specification and information architecture. The two primary objectives of this site were to be known as the main destination for online African teaching resources, and to increase the use of the resources available. We wanted to make the site as accessible as possible so we created a totally responsive design: the fluid layout will adapt to work on desktops, tablets, smartphones and even whiteboards.

A simple and intuitive user experience was key to this site - from our research we knew that teachers are often pressed for time and want to be able to find what they need really easily. The whole site has one simple filter mechanism - the user simply selects the subjects they are interested in to reveal the relevant resources. A search option allows them to narrow this down further, with all content clearly displayed including an overview of what’s available and details of file types and sizes.

There’s a ‘Download all’ option that makes accessing the content even easier, plus the option of sending to a friend to pass on their knowledge. When on the move this also allows the user to send the resources to themselves for download back at their desk. Viewing images within a gallery allows the user to easily see and select the images they need too.

Lessons from Africa offers to send schools free resources (posters, fundraising packs etc), the option to book a speaker and links throughout the site to themed downloads (perfect for seasonal teaching, such as Harvest). Overlays have been used so the user never needs to leave the page and lose their place, but can still be served additional information that will help them find what they need. 

The site has many subtle but very helpful touches to make the process as simple as possible, keeping the user engaged and wanting to return. It has been a great project to work on - have a look at Lessons from Africa and see for yourself!

posted by
Al