Jobs for the Future works towards economic advancement for all by providing strategic consulting and research to private and public organizations, executing solutions that expand career pathways, and influencing policy that strengthens the labor market. To facilitate such a wide network of impact, JFF has generated a massive library of resources and case studies to inspire and guide organizations looking to evolve the American workforce. Streamlining access to these resources, and providing a clear sense of how JFF can be a powerful partner in economic transformation became the core design driver of their new platform, JFF.org.
Considering the large interconnected network of services, resources, audiences, and stakeholders that was revealed during our discovery process, Type/Code worked closely with JFF to help establish a streamlined digital communication strategy that focused on Areas of Work—three focus areas of employment issues being addressed; and Capabilities—four tactical stages that comprise JFF’s approach to building healthy economic advancement ecosystems.
JFF’s new communication strategy was then able to serve as the foundation for a flexible and scalable taxonomy that could transcend the organization’s new content platform. Enriched with additional tag groups, this taxonomy allows users to navigate through JFF’s thousands of case studies, toolkits, research reports, and more—all dynamically organized for varying audience needs.
As part of their 35-year anniversary, JFF undertook a complete rebrand, initiated by Ideas United. The new brand sought principally to clarify exactly what JFF’s core mission is, and to unify a disparate family of initiatives under JFF’s umbrella through a common visual system. Type/Code was tasked with extending these new brand guidelines meaningfully across JFF’s multiple digital properties. As the face of JFF, the new platform establishes the color palette, typographic scheme, and media treatment that is then diligently applied to all of JFF’s resources and collateral out in the wild.
JFF’s brand unification objectives guided Type/Code’s strategic approach to structuring content. While JFF currently manages several independent microsites devoted to various programs, Type/Code identified an opportunity to begin bringing these siloed experiences into a common digital platform. To kick off this process, Type/Code audited the legacy taxonomy and content models on both JFF.org and their other independent web applications, and designed new content structures and organizing principles with consistent base models and tag groups. This strategy set the stage for these multiple platforms to ultimately get merged, allowing new initiative hubs to be efficiently created, and content to seamlessly coexist across multiple initiative hubs as needed.
JFF’s content management system is built on a customized implementation of Wagtail CMS, allowing Type/Code to provide significant flexibility in how content is composed. In this method, a conditional set of building blocks (such as text, media grids, sidebars, and much more) are provided to authors based on content type—while many pages share blocks across a structured interface design system, there is a flexible opportunity for variation. For example, blog posts are provided with some unique blocks for showcasing media, while resource pages have unique blocks for featuring PDF downloads. Each block also comes with a set of elective positioning rules—allowing the author to map blocks out over a three-column grid system, and juxtapose content in useful ways. This method allows JFF to design an infinite array of page structures, each according to the needs of the content they hold.
The latest iteration of JFF provides a space for community advocates, employers, funders, and other intermediaries to quickly understand who JFF is, how they are valuable, and immediately see that value at play. The new CMS has allowed over 1,550 meticulously built case studies, publications, and posts to be published to the site, providing immediate examples of JFF’s skill in practice.
Since launch, public access to these resources has surged. In the first six months alone, nearly 80,000 new users accessed JFF’s resources—a task that once at least required digging deep into the legacy site, and often communicating directly with a representative. Mobile engagement has also shown drastic improvement—allowing JFF to effectively leverage social media outreach without fear of landing their audience in an unusable experience. All told, the new site has proven to be a rock-solid foundation for JFF to continue its outstanding service to its constituents—and better yet—has provided them with the tools to rapidly expand their capacity to serve the American workforce.