Imagine This is a blog series focused exclusively on Imaginovation’s web and mobile development projects.
A growing number of families are turning to homeschooling in an effort to give their children the best education possible. Those families often feel isolated and are in search of social support on their journey as they navigate the ups and downs of educating their children. It’s a massive job to take on, but it's doable with the right support.
Homeschool Butterfly is a web application developed through the vision of a homeschooling mom who experienced issues with the current social networking possibilities for homeschooling families. She knew that the today’s social networks didn’t cut it for homeschooling families. Working with Imaginovation, she created a website that offers a solution.
Access is everything in user driven web design
When it comes to web design, meeting the customer where they are is a critical component. Homeschool Butterfly was created by our designers using CSS, JQUERY, PHP, and MYSQL. These components allow for a user driven web design that’s readable across devices and that will stand the test of time. Web design for Homeschool Butterfly is simple, with a one page format that works on any device. Minimal animation keeps the look clean and prominent icons communicate the message of the site in a straightforward fashion.
Top line navigation means that users can find their way around the site easily. Once logged in, the site offers notifications and alerts, in addition to a customized profile picture that stands at the ready in the top right corner. Members stay logged in, even when they navigate away from the site. That allows for continued access without the need for clunky repeated logins.
The target market for Homeschool Butterfly are families that are looking for simplicity and functionality in web-based applications. There’s not a great deal of time for them to dig through complex websites or to try to navigate a design that’s not instantly intuitive. That’s why our designers worked to create a site that’s easy to access, even for people who don’t spend a lot of time online. Access is everything in user driven web design, and Imaginovation created a streamlined website for Homeschool Butterfly. Clean colors, simple shapes and focused text lead users exactly where they need to go and get out of the way of the information that they need to find.
That simplicity extends to the underlying code as well. JQUERY is a stripped down, clean platform for web design that loads quickly and easily. It works beautifully across browsers and devices, allowing access to the site for all users. CSS is another coding scaffold built into Homeschool Butterfly that helps to focus the code and eliminate the extras that can bog down a website in terms of loading time and errors.
Access in web design means building a solid foundation of code that works, then pairing that with design elements that are targeted to the end user in meaningful ways. That’s exactly what Homeschool Butterfly does.
Membership, forums and sales
There’s more to Homeschool Butterfly than just a great looking front page. The back end of the site offers real support for homeschooling families. Users can create custom profiles for themselves and their children. The parent centered approach here is what makes Homeschool Butterfly different from other social networking sites. Creating a functioning membership side of the site, using the parameters that are important for clients, was the biggest victory for our designers. The interface allows students to create profiles and to manage their social interactions, while still giving parents ultimate control.
Both parents and students can find friends and post messages. It’s an empowering site, but also one that’s designed to be devoid of the dangers that can plague social media for kids. Shared experience is part of what makes social media so powerful and that’s why bringing together this community of homeschoolers is effective. Users can find one another according to geographic location, age or shared interests. There are lots of opportunities for parents to connect through forums as well as through private messaging in order to discover new curricula, playgroups or field trip destinations. Homeschool Butterfly works to connect the experts in the field of homeschooling – families.
A truly unique aspect of Homeschool Butterfly is that it supports businesses founded by homeschooling families. Kids who are homeschooled have the chance to pursue their own business ventures, pouring their time and enthusiasm into projects. With Homeschool Butterfly, we’ve created a platform that allows those kids to advertise and grow their businesses within the homeschool community.
Resources for homeschooling families
There are a wide variety of reasons that homeschooling works for thousands of families, but common to all of them is that desire to give the best education to their children. Homeschool Butterfly offers useful and timely information, as well as social connections. With high quality web design, backed by families that know what resources are necessary for success in homeschooling, Homeschool Butterfly is working to create a whole new way for these families to utilize technology online. We’ve seen again and again with websites that success is closely tied to simple, easy to manage user experiences that cater to specific audiences.
Every year, more and more families are turning to homeschooling as a way to take charge of their children’s educational experience. That means that more and more families will be turning to online resources for guidance and community building. Homeschool Butterfly fulfills a growing need for social media that works for homeschooling families, with their specific needs in mind.
Imaginovation has had the pleasure of working alongside this innovative venture to facilitate the creation of a website that works for the unique needs of this community. Through high quality, user driven interfaces, it’s possible for online services to offer connection opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be available. Moving forward, Homeschool Butterfly is working to add even more functionality that’s specifically designed for homeschooling families, allowing them to get even more out of the internet in terms of giving their kids the brightest futures.
Do you feel there is something missing in the World Wide Web? We’d love to partner with you to bring your idea to life. Contact us!