Belonging Network: Creating a Community Online

  • Social Justice
  • Health

The Belonging Network, formerly the Adoptive Families Association of BC, works tirelessly to provide support, learning and connection for adoptive and permanency families and youth in and from government care. The Canadian non-profit has expanded its audiences beyond adoption, recognizing a nuanced landscape that includes guardianship, kinship care and Indigenous customary care. To support this diverse group, they offer a range of services, including online resources, workshops and education programs for the community, with distinct support and learning tools for youth and young adults transitioning to adulthood. They work towards the shared goal of providing a space where everyone can belong.

We started working with the Belonging Network team to establish their new name and brand identity before bringing this direction to life on their new website. To learn about how we worked together to re-envision their brand, read the Belonging Network: Support for Families and Youth case study here.
 

the challenge

Bringing a new name and brand to life

The project's first step was to envision a new name and brand that reflected the expanded scope of the organization. Once we established this foundation, it was time to reimagine the website and create a new platform for the Belonging Network that supported their long-term objectives. The existing site had abundant information; however, it needed to be reorganized to recognize the diversity of the permanency community and the needs of the different families and youth on their respective journeys.  

Focusing on the unique needs of each group of audiences, we established that we needed the new site to be accessible and available across all devices. Some families live in remote communities that lack reliable internet, and many need to access the information on their phones. The user experience across the site needed to be intuitive, and content needed to be presented in a way that was inclusive and easy for everyone to understand. 

 

As a non-profit working in a complex and sensitive area, our new brand and website needed to do a lot of heavy lifting. Affinity Bridge went above and beyond to deliver beautiful results while staying within budget. We love our new identity and online home. They've got the whole package: heart, values, experience, and skills. You won't go wrong with them.
Brianna Brash-Nyberg, Manager, Communications

Client

  • Belonging Network

Sector

  • Social Justice
  • Health

Service

  • Strategy
  • User Experience
  • Content
  • Design
  • Development

Technology

  • WordPress
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Belonging Network website was showcased on four devices to demonstrate its responsiveness. The homepage design showing 2 parent kissing their daughter. The design is  presented on a laptop, desktop screen, tablet, and mobile phone.
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Belonging Network website is showcased on a tablet and mobile phone, highlighting the visual identity in various design layouts and card designs.

the solution

Understanding the diverse needs of an expanded community

We paid careful attention to the user journeys on the site to understand the needs and priorities of each group. For some, finding information and help quickly is critical. For others who might be further along in their permanency journey,  the goal can be further reading or joining groups for long-term online support.

We took a bottom-up approach to content, organizing and grouping information and finding the most appropriate labels for those groupings. This allowed us to identify any gaps and ultimately build an information architecture and main navigation that is intuitive and easy to use. We designed the homepage to surface the most important information, providing clear starting points for different audiences and key topics. Using similar layouts, we created landing pages that could be effective wayfinding pages for users with a specific destination in mind as well as general information to guide those who may be unsure of what resources they needed. Related content blocks provided an easy way to find stories and articles related to a topic of interest. 

Dynamically surfacing key resources

With over 20 years of information collected, it was important to create a resource listing that was filterable and surfaced the most relevant information. We created multiple content types (such as articles, stories, and news), leveraged taxonomies and added a keyword search for users to define their filters and curate personal resource lists. For example,  adoptees can find stories and articles from the perspective of other adoptees, while waiting parents can find resources specific to the part of the permanency process they’re in. 

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Belonging Network website  showcased on a tablet and desktop highlighting the visual identity in various design layouts and card designs.

Compelling storytelling and content strategy

Personal stories are a unique and fundamental part of the Belonging Network’s content. We wanted to showcase features from different perspectives, including adoptees, permanency families and youth. We also worked with the Belonging Network’s team to develop the content strategy and editorial style guidelines, ensuring that the voice and language reflected the overall brand direction. A large portion of the content was rewritten to reflect the broader community, resulting in an engaging experience for community members as they navigated the site.

Content management meets member management

The Belonging Network takes advantage of the power and flexibility of WordPress, delivering an interface with drag-and-drop capabilities for content editors and a seamless experience between the website and the chosen CRM for managing member information, event registration and newsletter subscriptions. With a streamlined information architecture and intuitive paths to find the information, this website combines large capacity with intuitive simplicity, allowing the Belonging Network team to focus on the important work of building connection and community.
 
 

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