About CASE

The Canadian Association for Supported Employment (CASE) is a national association of community-based service providers and their provincial associations, employers and other stakeholders working towards employment inclusion of people who experience disabilities. CASE strives to promote full citizenship and personal capacity for persons who experience disabilities through the facilitation of increased labor market participation. CASE works to increase the employment inclusion of Canadians with disability as the voice, leader, innovator, convenor, provider of resources, and collaborator of the Supported Employment sector, accelerating progress in many employment sectors. CASE has been in operation for over 27 years. For the first 22 years, it operated primarily through volunteers and contractors. For the past 5 years, it has grown and delivers several national programs and initiatives.

The previous website was elegantly designed but it wasn't sufficiently accessible to meet WCAG 2.1 requirements, and the site architecture was extremely confusing to users. Pages occupied multiple spots along the top-level navigation, and content themes were scattered among several different content categories and paths. From a development standpoint, there were significant performance problems that affected site speed and ease of use for site administrators. Add to that a complicated page-builder, a lack of control over membership features, and a desire to process membership purchases online, and the stage was set for a rebuild. 

The CASE team was looking for a talented and capable web development partner that could help them execute their web vision. With an administrative team that was more focused on their organizational mandate, there was little bandwidth to manage ongoing web challenges. Through an exhaustive search of partners, CASE came to the conclusion that the monkeys were just the team they were looking for. 

The Work

Upon investigation into the site, it was discovered that although the site was built on WordPress, the page-building app that was installed was extremely confusing to use and manage. As well, most features and functions were being handled through 3rd-party services that left the CASE team out of the loop on specific (and key) membership information. Unfortunately, even though the right functions were present, the consensus was that they were difficult to use, and due to the slow speed of the site, staff just simply couldn't devote the required amount of time to make key fixes to content and accessibility. 

The monkey development team dove right in, going through an intensive Discovery process that helped establish a plan of attack. Given the need for membership management, online subscription processing, bilingual content, and several other key desires, the solution required significant thought, planning, and insight. At the same time, CMM's Gorilla Marketers began a deep dive of the site's content, topics, themes, and information. The architecture was stripped down, reconfigured, and reorganized to create a far more sensible browsing experience for users while also creating key conversion paths that helped lead people to the specific information they were looking for. 

Back in the development world, the decision was made to take advantage of MemberPress, a highly regarded membership management platform that integrates directly with WordPress. Through its features, creating an online community hub for CASE members and stakeholders was easy. More than just giving CASE the features they wanted, MemberPress usage also allowed them to cut one of their 3rd-party services and take control of their member services. 

Integrating WooCommerce into MemberPress also provided CASE with a clear win. Prior to the site, annual memberships were sold and processed manually, creating a huge resource strain on the organization's membership team. With the new website, members are able to process their subscriptions, make their payments, and even add their colleagues to their accounts. More than that, the system allowed for CASE members to modify and update their own profiles easily, taking yet another manual task off the board for the CASE team. 

The Results

Ultimately, the new CASE site is a monstrously powerful online engine for membership management. With a slew of features brought onto the website, CASE now has full control and transparency in regards to their membership process. Even better, staff are now able to access and use the new page-builder - Elementor - to create new pages, new content, and new initiatives. Even with all these enhancements - a better and more logical architecture, and a significant amount of control - the Cheeky Monkey design team managed to hit the mark with Accessibility, easily passing WCAG 2.1 AA standards!

Of course, with such a huge amount of processing going on, there were still questions about performance. Unfortunately, it was clear that in order for CASE to provide the user experience they wanted, a change in site hosting would be necessary. Their old VPS service just didn't have the power, bandwidth, or service levels required to meet the need. As well as performing caching optimizations, Javascript minimizations, and other performance tweaks, the monkeys brought in their friends from WP Engine to help out, and got the CASE team the right hosting to power their new machine. 

Almost immediately, the site performance shot up to levels CASE had never witnessed before, and scores for SEO, Accessibility, and Best Practices all showed huge improvements over the previous incarnation of the website. While work and collaboration continues between CASE and the Monkeys, the result of the development project turned out to be just what the organization needed.

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