Simple Steps

The Overview:

This was a redesign of an existing website for NRDC's Simple Steps initiative. Wildflower was commissioned to create a new look and feel, develop innovative interactive features, and implement the site in an easy-to-use CMS.

The Site:

The Simple Steps site aims to educate users on steps they can take to live healthier and more sustainable lives. The overall design is punctuated by a series of original illustrated scenes that focus on each of the four main topic areas and allow editors to highlight key areas of content.  Each scene included specific items such as kitchen items or a kind of landscaping that editors will be able to highlight later as new articles and galleries are created.  Using a custom-designed javascript tool, editors can place gold stars throughout the scenes and add little popup detail boxes to encourage visitors to explore the website.

Timely, well-researched articles are published nearly every day on the site and frequently added quizzes test your eco-smarts. Global navigation and a Google search box helps visitors easily find the content they want.

Sixteen different household savings calculators let users check how their everyday habits impact the amount of carbon dioxide they produced and resources they used in their homes. 

A segment called Minute, Morning, Month let users check boxes for what time they had to spend on something and then further narrow those results by topic.  Got a morning to take some simple steps with regard to food?  Check the boxes and see what you can do. (Hint: Stock up on produce and fresh foods at your local farmer's market.)

Ever wonder what that sticker on your banana or coffee beans meant?  In a gallery format the Label Lookups show clear images and explanations of what each label really means.  A "green leaf" ranking that tells you whether the label actually tells something useful, or is more of a marketing ploy.  Other galleries compare items to see whether "This or That" product is the better choice and show you how to make home improvements, like installing a green roof.

A chemical index lets users search for those chemicals often mentioned in the news and find out the real story behind them.

Users are encourage to submit their own how-to suggestions, recipes, and questions they'd like to have answered by NRDC's panel of experts.  Users can also share comments on the original articles and a handy tagging system lets users find related material elsewhere in the site.

The entire site runs off of a Drupal 6 content management system, allowing the small staff of editors to keep the site fresh and relevant.  Using the open source software will provide flexibility to develop additional site components scheduled to be live by the end of 2009.

Natural Resources Defense Council, 2009