A Need That Rang a Bell: How Three Teachers Came to Invest in the Community’s Future
First established in 1954, Class Act began as a promising resource to serve an unmet need: offering teachers and the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) the chance to lean into sought-out loans. “Our first office was in a room the size of a closet, right in Seneca High School with about 3 employees,” says James Clark, Marketing Director at Class Act. “Over the years, JCPS has grown, and we’ve grown too,” explains Clark, adding, “Class Act has now expanded to surrounding school districts, extending financial services across education-based organizations in the local area.”
Because Class Act began between hallways amongst real teachers, striving to make a living while they make an incalculable difference, the institution values “giving back to the community” that started it all, shares Clark; “directly tying our efforts for bringing in membership, loans, and business into products that uplift the community.” Evolutions and decades later, having seen the power of a few teachers in collective unity, this organization prioritizes corporate social responsibility.
Making way for heroes to serve heroes, Class Act is honored to help schools raise pivotal funds; celebrating the leaders who devote their paths to shaping the future of education. Offering a fundraising platform for local schools, Clark feels proud to witness the gravity of Class Act’s Heroes of Education Program — the service “that changed the game in how we go about our business development strategy.”
Resolving Two Overarching Challenges: The Call for Stronger Visibility and Functionality
As someone who managed the contact center previously at Class Act, Clark would see members frequently contact the credit union to find out information that existed on the website; “but you had to know how to get there,” explained Clark. The old site without an intentional map creating structure felt like it was missing a “GPS” system.
Because a lot of members are teachers and bus drivers, navigating the hustle and bustle of busy, everyday life, “they rely on us as financial partners to help streamline and offload some of that burden,” says Clark; where Class Act assists in “keeping track of their finances and providing 24/7 access to their account.”
Class Act turned to Hatfield Media to anchor Class Act’s redesign with brand consistency and enhanced functionality. “Hatfield was a great vendor to work with,” highlights Clark, who feels Hatfield Media provided key insight into industry standards for financial institutions as well as other websites; which “made the website design process a lot less abstract.”
Clark explained that through Hatfield Media’s expertise, Class Act learned that a user-friendly website is built with inherent understanding; catering to why someone is visiting that site. When a user browses a financial institution’s platform, Clark discovered through this process: “They want to do what they came to do; they want to do it quickly; and they want to feel like that website is trustworthy and can be taken seriously.”
Time Is Money: Sweeping Clutter to Create User-Friendly Information Architecture
This reputable institution needed a website that would serve “as that hub for our brand; in a way that’s consistent with our online banking and advertisements,” shares Clark. “Before, we had layouts that looked a certain way; and then you’d come to the website, and it would have a different feel to it.” Brand consistency would be a major objective, above all.
Hatfield Media’s team collaborated to see Class Act’s redesign through various transformations; landing on a layout that felt open and illuminating. Conceptualizing central elements, Hatfield Media’s design and development departments led creative dialogues to craft a brand-effective approach for the site’s new framework. Our goal: structuring the crux of information in a way that would ease the user journey — building a design that would feel timeless; clear for any user to find viable financial solutions.
Christina Pfeifer, Senior Account Representative at Hatfield Media, commends Class Act’s commitment to supporting the Louisville metro community; proud to assist in empowering the not-for-profit cooperative in its service to education professionals. “Class Act has a wonderful banking mission for teachers as well as anyone interested in a Credit Union,” says Pfeifer, highlighting: “Having a website that could house not just their offerings but also their learning resources was a critical component to that mission. I think we succeeded at providing a clean, long lasting design that is also very functional.”
Hatfield Media sought to not only bring Class Act’s digital space the power to soar in a modern landscape, but to offer the brand stronger connection with every client visiting the site — all through the impact of finely tuned navigation changes.
Banking on Balance: The Impact of Clean, Modern Website Design
Hatfield Media’s Senior Graphic Designer, Kaen Blevins, recognized: our top priority would be to make Class Act’s new website feel like an open, value-added experience for any user. Utilizing the ‘real estate’ of digital space with thoughtful intention, Blevins took care to optimize Class Act’s online platform — seeing to it that every visual could support effective communication. For an institution conveying a wealth of information, simplifying the user journey would be pivotal.
“When creating the new Class Act website, we wanted to give the redesign a fresh and inviting feel. To make this possible, first, we brought in a brighter and refined color palette to enhance the Class Act brand. From a user experience, this felt critical — leveraging strategic visuals to help communicate key information,” explains Blevin.
When diving into strategy, honing in on key opportunities to uplevel Class Act’s branded voice and online presence, Hatfield Media’s design team carefully assessed the institution’s website structure — a layout with a breadth of insights; but missing a clear path for a user to be able to identify exactly what information was most pressing. With so much information beckoning a user’s attention all at once, Hatfield Media identified the powerful potential to transform Class Act’s website.
Blevins expresses, “We wanted to step away from clutter, improving Class Act’s design structure, which risked coming across as confusing to an audience. An overwhelming amount of information makes it hard for a user to process what information is significant. Our team gathered many internal focus groups to pinpoint the most important, relevant information; then, we applied the results, bringing these insights to the forefront to build a better customer experience.”
“To pare down the clutter to the essential, we knew it would be a priority to simplify the site; taking a more modern approach to the menu by adding a ‘hamburger’ menu style across all screen sizes,” continues Blevin, adding: “We chose this method, because it allows for more flexibility, clearer communication, and control over the design whenever adding new information — all while facilitating a cohesive experience for Class Act users.”
Hatfield Media zeroed in on the “Information we knew would be fundamental,” shares Blevins. The old site presented an ambiguous user journey that had “relied on a collection of photos, hand-drawn illustrations, hard-to-read fonts, and inconsistent UI elements.” Blevins highlights, “Regardless of screen size, we ensured each crucial part of a user journey would feel easily accessible and consistent across-the-board.”
“Shaping a strategic redesign, we wanted to create opportunities to build on Class Act’s authentic brand, fostering a stronger relationship with users. Our team worked to develop cohesive styling, infusing new, bolder colors along with adding sharp corners on elements throughout the site. This creates an impression of a revitalized, fresh, and consistent user experience; with iconography that better reflects all pertinent information — allowing Class Act to drive forward high user engagement,” says Blevins.
Embracing a Brand-Consistent Future: A Universal Platform That Feels Trustworthy
Now, when a user visits the new Class Act site, the credit union’s online presence feels brand-strong; and a user finds an intuitive sense of a built-in GPS; effortless to follow. You “easily know where to click to search and the login button is universal,” says Clark, adding: “I think just the fact you can get to the homepage and know exactly where to go in an instant will be very helpful.”
A particular standout feature: the new calculator function. “We have an actual calculators page,” highlights Clark, who believes all the different functions that are available” will deliver added value to any user. Clark explains, “With how the website is designed, we can have relevant calculators in different pages of the website. People visiting the website can look for budgeting calculators; what a mortgage payment would look like; what refinancing your auto loan could save you; providing such a wide variety of resources to people visiting our site — so they don’t have to go to a third party site to do that.”
The new site feels “very consistent with our online banking,” offering “the same experience” even though “they’re two totally different providers,” adds Clark. Class Act turned to Hatfield Media throughout the process for “strategic input” that “helped expedite the process.” Clark especially appreciated the thorough “communication between our reps like Christina and Daniel, who answered our questions quickly as we were learning the new system and getting implemented.” With Christina, Daniel, and our dedicated “dev team in the background,” Clark commends Hatfield Media for the flexibility to create “alternatives or new features based on what we needed.”
For Class Act, improved usability is a game-changer; for Clark feels that “with the Hatfield site, I can feel comfortable that I can train someone on how to make changes to the website if something pops up;” a marked change from Class Act’s previous site structure. Additionally, the credit union welcomed the peace of mind in being able to trust our “industry professionals.” Clark believes that for an organization striving to honor a myriad of preferences and perspectives, “Having you all make your recommendations from working with other financial institutions and government websites really made a difference — providing that expert advice.”
With a brand-worthy “new website [that] solidifies Class Act as a solid brand” in its sphere, “we’re growing right along with the community; so I think the future is looking bright for Class Act,” contends Clark.