Canadian Paralympic Committee website, desktop view

Web accessibility and user experience drives CPC website design

Industrial Media has been working extensively with the Canadian Paralympic Committee since 2011. In early 2013, we partnered with CPC to accurately define its website’s goals and to help position the organization as a go-to information hub for all things Paralympic sport in Canada.

Its previous website was difficult for end-users to navigate, and was not highly accessible or mobile-friendly.  It was also difficult for internal users to make updates to the site content.  In updating its website, CPC aimed to create a better user experience on both ends.

Laying the foundation

During an extensive planning process, Industrial helped CPC to develop a new digital strategy that would impact the online landscape for Canadian sport organizations by positioning CPC as a leader in web accessibility and usability.  CPC hoped that its own experience in redesigning the paralympic.ca website would also serve as an example and case study for other national sport organizations.

To guide the website redesign process, Industrial worked with both CPC and third-party accessibility experts.  The site design and development deliberately took into account accessibility features, and an excellent cross-device and mobile browsing experience.  There were frequent check-ins that allowed CPC to continue to shape the outcome of the site past the strategy phase, and Industrial encouraged an iterative approach that would allow regular feedback.

Screen shot of the paralympic.ca website

Since launching, Industrial has continued to work with CPC to improve upon website features and the user experience as a whole, as well as position the website for future integration with CPC’s other digital products.  In late 2013, the website was being prepared for integration with a mobile app that would allow Canadians to access information about the upcoming 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi while on-the-go.

Positioned for future growth

The fully-modular content approach that Industrial took to the CPC website redesign pushed Drupal, the Content Management System chosen for the site, to its limits.  With a Table of Contents feature and accessibility options (like activating responsive view points) in place, the overall usability of the site has been greatly improved.

The project also allowed our development team to form a better approach to modular content, opting for a custom grid system over a predefined grid system on the site.  Moving forward, a custom or no-grid approach will be used, allowing us to better marry design and usability.

Screen shot of the paralympic.ca website

Ultimately, redesigning paralympic.ca more effectively positioned CPC for the national and international audiences it would reach during the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.  Reaching a greater audience, in no small part through a better user experience and web accessibility features, has allowed CPC to generate the support it needs to continue to promote para-sport to all Canadians.