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Center for American Progress

Creating a dynamic new home for bold ideas and action

The Center for American Progress (CAP) is an independent, nonpartisan policy institute dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through bold, progressive ideas and strong leadership that drives action. Amidst a once-in-a-generation moment to make transformational change, CAP had a legacy website that was visually outdated and carried technical debt that would prevent them from achieving their engagement and conversion goals.

Teal and CAP partnered to reimagine and rebuild the premier destination for progressive policy insights and expertise. Starting with a robust discovery phase, Teal engaged stakeholders from across the organization in rich discussions about website goals; paired those insights with a deep review of quantitative analytics, search/SEO, and CRM data; and collaborated with the core CAP web team on a vision for a new americanprogress.org. Then, with an aggressive five-month timeline, our teams got to work.

Teal’s work with CAP was nominated for a 2022 Webby Award.

Build Blocks Better

CAP’s small but mighty content editorial team published as many as 20 new pieces per week. They needed a faster, more flexible way to build standard content—articles, reports, factsheets—plus the flexibility to create feature pages with rich, complex layouts. So Teal created a new block layout and atomic design system that’s visually stunning, easy to navigate, flexible to build, and super scalable—so content drives the layout, not the other way around.

Prioritizing Hot Topics

With a rapid response team generating newsworthy posts across a series of top trending topics, along with a mountain of 40,000+ pieces of legacy content spanning decades, users needed a clear path to quickly find and navigate to the most timely, relevant content on the site. Teal structured the new CAP site around trending topics, highlighting a ticker at the top of each page and architecting a home page that flexibly features content that’s focused on the issues driving the progressive political conversation.

Tools to Meet the Moment

  • Robust report pages that are easy for 150+ authors to create, flexible for editors to customize, and built to encourage the 85% of visitors who enter through content pages to go deeper and explore the full CAP site.
  • Data visualizations built in so authors can create responsive, on-page charts, graphs, and more with simple data uploads right into WordPress—no iframes or embeds required.
  • Taxonomy overhaul that brought CAP’s new strategic direction to life, reorganizing the site around user-centric topics and issues—not by internal staff structure—and creating powerful, easy-to-navigate relationships between content.

How to Relaunch a Think Tank in Five Months

As the leading think tank on progressive issues, CAP’s website was a decade behind what its users—and its internal editorial team—needed. With end-of-year giving season approaching, Teal and CAP mapped out a rapid redevelopment process to overhaul the site in just five short months. Here’s how we did it:

  • Project management: Teal’s internal motto is on time, on budget, no surprises. Our PM team mapped out the aggressive timeline and kept all of us on track through the normal volley of feedback, changes, and new ideas.
  • Consensus building: CAP’s core value—its research, analysis, and priority actions—lives on the website. So a rebuild of this core function required input, buy-in, and consensus around decisions. Teal partnered with the core web team at CAP to survey staff, lead town halls, and meet with groups across the organization to ensure all voices were heard and everyone had a chance to weigh in on this transformational project.
  • Relationship: At Teal, we see our clients as partners. CAP’s success is our success, and our team owned and led the project proactively, staying a step ahead, and driving it forward every day. The teams had fun together, built trust, and operated as far more than the sum of their parts. And the new site speaks for itself!

 

collage of images from the CAP Action site

Separate Sites with Shared Purpose—and Infrastructure

As the Teal team worked quickly to build and launch the main website for CAP, we worked in parallel with the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action) to shape its new website into a hub for powerful stories, resources for advocates, and clear actions that progressives can take.

CAP Action’s new site leverages the core features of the main CAP website and pairs it with its own functionality to empower advocates and help our nation live up to its potential for boundless opportunity and equal justice.

Read the CAP Action case study >

“It’s been great to work with the Teal team. They pulled together a tight group of folks with the skills and experience to work quickly through the groundwork and tackle the inevitable oddities that turn up in any project of scale. Their industry experience helped us get off on the right foot—we’ve been speaking the same language since day one.”

Jamie Perez

Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy

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