Leading change for women’s advocacy through content-driven design

Leading change for women’s advocacy through content-driven design

Women Employed



Women Employed’s website was neither connecting with its desired audience, nor adequately representing their impact in the world.


Following our human-centered design approach, we refined their messaging and created a vibrant new website that educates visitors and funnels them toward opportunities to get involved.


Women Employed’s website is a bright and engaging gateway into the advocacy organization’s core mission. The design and experience funnel users to action-oriented tasks in a more streamlined fashion, with 300 pages of legacy content streamlined into a direct and impactful 40-page website.

Founded in 1973, Women Employed works to improve the economic status of women and remove barriers to economic equity. By working directly with city- and state-level policy makers and partnering with affiliates across the country, the Chicago-based organization helps effect policy change, expand access to educational opportunities, and advocate for fair and inclusive workplaces so that women, families, and communities can thrive.

However, their website struggled to connect and convey all of their important work into an easily digestible format that could inform and activate others in the community. They needed a digital partner to modernize and reposition their online presence and overcome a series of challenges. Despite previous SEO efforts, their website was still attracting users looking for jobs, and needed to make adjustments that more narrowly targeted an audience interested in this advocacy work. When their desired users did arrive at their site, they saw a look and feel that was outdated and stale, with an overload of information that made it difficult to understand the organization’s mission and how to get involved. 

Women Employed’s staff had attempted to resolve these challenges through maintenance and content updates, but they were restricted by a rigid framework.

The Women Employed website, viewed on a iPad Pro tablet device.

Removing Technical Barriers To Facilitate Human Connections

8th Light’s world-class design team thoughtfully collaborated with Women Employed and their website users to discover, define, and craft a more human-centered design. 

We began by seeking to better understand the motivations driving Women Employed’s target audience, as well as the barriers that caused confusion as they visited the website. After helping Women Employed clarify and re-focus their messaging with a comprehensive content audit, we validated our progress by conducting several iterations of user testing. We then breathed new life into the streamlined messaging by implementing a dynamic rebrand.

Women Employed seeks a dialogue with its community, so we knew that even this streamlined messaging would need to evolve and change along with new developments and initiatives. We implemented a brand new and intuitive content management system that empowers their staff to maintain and update their content going forward. We also built a design toolkit and illustration library that allows them to attach personality to their content while remaining consistent with their new brand identity.

A New Platform For Engagement

After deploying the updated website, Women Employed saw immediate and lasting improvements in their ability to attract and engage an active community. Compared to the previous 12 months, the redesigned website's first year saw:

  • 3.5% increase in users

  • 50.2% increase in returning users

  • 14.8% increase in sessions

  • 17.8% increase in pageviews

I often hear comments from supporters that our new site is so bright and engaging, that it really invites you in, and that the boldness of it really reflects the boldness of the work we do.

Judy Miyashita, Director of Marketing and Communications for Women Employed

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