Blog Insights
Analytics & Data-Driven Design: Serve the Best to Your Audience

Forum One led an analytics review of the first Farm to School Census, which collects and analyzes data on how 13,000 public school districts use local food. Based on the data, we worked with FNS to launch the second Census in early 2016 – the results of which decreased the bounce rate by 79%, increased the on-site conversion rate by 250%, and increased participation in the program overall.

How did we get there?

1. Designing for Data

The Farm to School Census website needed to make sense of a wealth of data. By understanding the most compelling stories coming out of the data, we focused on designing pages that are easy to read and highlight the program’s real impact in schools, e.g., vibrant images and infographics to communicate key data.

2. Serving the Best to Users

We conducted a full analytics audit and analysis on the first iteration of the Census website to identify areas to focus on for the next year’s presentation. As part of the process, Forum One worked closely with FNS staff to develop clear definitions of success in which to measure the site against. This allowed us to  clearly identify optimization opportunities.

3. Catering to the Audience

We designed the user experience to make sure the site’s key audiences – school district food service directors who purchase food and farmers and ranchers who produce it – can quickly and easily drill down from the national view to a specific school district.  Through our analysis, we identified a clear gap in the experience where users had a significant drop-off rate. The new website makes it easier than ever to search and browse for detailed information, with the conversion rate increasing from 18% to 50%. Site visitors can now quickly see exactly where states and districts are directing their meal budgets to local food, down to the share that goes to different food types (fruit, vegetables, dairy, etc.) and meal types.

4. Bringing the Farm to School

By highlighting the key trends, making the local data easy to share and explore, and optimizing site performance with information gained from site metrics and analytics reporting, we helped FNS increase interest in the program and its impact in schools. The 2015 Census showed a 105% increase in local food purchases over the first Census, increasing access to local food for students and generating $789 million in economic activity for local food producers.

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