The White House
Historical Association

Starting with a digital strategy phase, we helped this private, nonprofit historical organization overhaul their brand and redesign their flagship site.
View the work ︎

Supporting the future of history. Founded in 1961 by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the White House Historical Association strives to protect, preserve, and provide public access to the rich history of America’s Executive Mansion.

The organization is well-known for its annual White House Christmas Ornament, but struggled with both brand recognition and online execution of one of their primary objectives: the creation and promotion of historical content. The Association needed a better way to tell its historical and organizational stories in the digital age. To help the Association further their mission, we developed a new messaging strategy, brand strategy, and content strategy for the organization as a whole.

We realized that, as the primary entity responsible for White House history, care, and hospitality, the Association had the opportunity to establish itself as the quintessential host of one of the most famous homes in the world. Our “gracious host” concept formed the basis of our strategy work, which we then used to guide the full redesign of the site.

Thanks to our strategy phase, we knew we needed to create a system that functioned more like a dynamic publishing platform, and less like a static association site, to give users multiple access points to WHHA’s vast content collection. We ended up building a custom Craft plugin to import almost 2,000 pieces of content that were on the original hard-coded HTML site — this included text, photography, video, and mp3s.

“The team demonstrated a marrow-deep appreciation for our mission as a nonprofit. Again and again, we were impressed with their attention to detail, the depth of their thinking, and their determination to help us problem solve our true needs. The digital strategy they created for the White House Historical Association was a game-changing document for how we thought, planned, and talked about ourselves online and beyond.”

Lara Kline, Former VP of Marketing & Communications, WHHA

For the build portion of the engagment, we decided to use a Craft CMS — a great choice for custom websites. Craft’s modular content matrix gave us an incredible amount of flexibility when it came to building custom pages on the fly, and it helped us design a search-based navigation system using keyword and content tags rather than a traditional hierarchical menu navigation. Users can now search the site in three different ways: via a general search bar, using a collection of pre-selected filters, or through pieces of content that are surfaced based on the tagging system we created.

Our focus on fast, responsive design helped us realize a 96% increase in mobile visit duration post-redesign, and increased the number of visitors arriving from social by 350%, year-over-year.

The Association’s new site now leads users through the a wealth of content in a thoughtful, organized way. Visitors can now easily access an unparalleled collection of White House historical resources, which has led to a dramatic increase in site visit duration.

Our in-depth brand and content strategy work helped the Association re-shape their digital communication strategy. We used this overarching strategy to guide the creation of a new site that leads users through the Association’s wealth of content in a thoughtful and organized way.

Art Direction: Owen Shifflett
Front-End Development: Megan Zlock

Another project, perhaps?

Ally Fouts is a creative director, brand strategist, writer, and awestruck human living and working in Los Angel-ish.
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