Advanced Driving Academy

Driver's education from a law enforcement perspective

Company Information

Advanced Driving Academy was started in 1996 by retired police officer Leonard Schemanske. He had a passion for teaching and wanted to apply the applicable knowledge he had gained while on the force, to driver's education. Fast forward to 2019 and ADA educates thousands of teenagers and adults every year. They offer services such as segment 1 & 2 classes, private drive lessons, and road tests. The team at Advanced Driving Academy is top notch; unfortunately, the same could not be said about the technologies they were utilizing.

Challenges

In 2014, ADA hired a development team to create them a new website for the business. The goal was to shift the entire signup and registration process to the online system, instead of being over the phone or in person. The team never finished the website, however, and Advanced Driving Academy was left with a website riddled with errors. The design was not responsive and practically indecipherable on some pages. If that wasn't bad enough, some pages took over 60 seconds to load! The bottom line was their broken website was driving away customers and causing them endless frustration.

Process

We sat down with the owner of ADA and pin-pointed all the problem areas with the site. Then we prioritized the items and identified which ones to address first. The owner needed the site running as soon as possible. So, we decided to split this project into three main phases:
  • Patch
  • Redesign
  • Content Management System

Patch

Because the owner needed the site operational as soon as possible for his business, we decided to quickly address the errors that were preventing the site from functioning correctly. These were short term fixes to get the website functional. Once the site was stable, we shifted our attention to redesigning the website off-server.

Redesign

Looking at the state of the current website, we worked with the owner to establish goals for the website, post-redesign:
  • No page should take more than three seconds to load
  • The site should be responsive (mobile/tablet friendly)
  • The page text should be clear and concise
We partnered with Max Pelic, a developer who was also assisting ADA, and got to work. We went page by page, redesigning, restructuring, and rewording the content until we had addressed the entire site. We were able to reduce page load times significantly. We brought the average page load time from more than eight seconds to under three seconds. Additionally, we were able to accomplish the rest of our goals. The website was responsive and we removed the bulk of the block text on pages.

Content Management System

Once we finished the redesign of the customer-facing website, the owner asked us to redesign their content management system. Their CMS was the backbone of the business. They used it for class and drive creation, scheduling, monitoring orders, report generation, among other things. Like the customer-facing website, it was also riddled with errors and somehow even more slow. Additionally, the layout was not easy to navigate and sometimes the desired functionality was more than six links deep. For this project, we decided it would be more cost-effective to start from scratch than to try to redesign the current CMS.

We sat down with the owner and a few administrators who used the current CMS, to find out what they were looking for in a new system. We came up with the following goals:
  • No page should take more than three seconds to load
  • System should automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks done by hand
  • The system should be responsive
  • The system should be easy to navigate
  • The page functionality should be intuitive
  • Desired functionaltiy should be no more than three links deep
Again, we partnered with Max Pelic to accomplish the set goals. We decided to create an API to accept and serve the data coming from the main website, the CMS, and eventually the other projects ADA had planned. Throughout the design and development process for the new system, we met with individuals from ADA weekly. In these progress update meetings, we were able to get valuable feedback on the system as it was developed, so we could make it as helpful and efficient as possible.

End Result

Increased Performance

For both the website and the content management system, there was a large increase in performance. For the website, we were able to bring the average page load time from more than eight seconds to 2.73 seconds. The content management system results were even better. The average page load time for the old CMS was pushing nine seconds! With the new system, the average page load time is around a second.

Responsive Design

As each year passes, more and more people are using their mobile devices for browsing the internet. It is imperative that a website is optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. We designed and tested the website and content management system on a multitude of devices to ensure our responsive design held up.

Automated Repetitive Tasks

During our discovery phase, we learned that the administrators at ADA were filling out state mandated forms by hand for every student in their segment 1 and 2 classes. With up to 36 students in each class, and multiple forms required for each, the admins would spend more than 10 hours a week filling out forms. The worst part was that the information they were writing in the forms was already being collected on the website. When we created the CMS, we created pdf versions of the forms that already had all the student information filled in for them. Now, all they have to do is print. With the automation of these simple, but time-consuming tasks, we are saving ADA dozens of hours a month.

Improved Readibility

When we were redesigning the website, we knew we had to make the web pages much more intuitive and clean. Most pages were plagued with massive blocks of text, few images or icons, and poor grammar. We rewrote the text, eliminated unecessary or repetitive information, and added images or icons throughout. The pages are much easier to navigate now and look clean.

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