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Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario

Transformed to Straight A's

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is a professional and protective labour union representing over 83,000 teachers, occasional teachers, and education professionals employed in the public elementary schools of Ontario. All public elementary teachers in Ontario are active members' of ETFO provincial and also a member of one of its 76 locals across the province. 

The ETFO public website is an essential communication tool used to inform members, engage the media, parents, and the public on the critical issues of public education in Ontario. In addition to its internal work in support of members', part of ETFO's mission is the education, stimulation, and transformation of provincial and local organizations to be responsive to the diverse needs of the membership and to be a positive influence for social justice and change at a societal level.


At the time the project started, the ETFO public facing site was 6 years old and was not user friendly. The site was hard to manage, resulting in reliance on PDFs and a cluttered menu that confused users. These factors combined with a non-functional search and arms race of microsites led to birth of this project. did not just need a new website, they needed a complete digital transformation. 

Goals & Objectives

  1. Strengthen online engagement, expand user audience and political action of union members' and the public through dynamic tools on the site 
  2. Update the look and feel of the website with a fresh and accessible design.
  3. Improve navigation and organization of member and public content through simplified site layout and logical information flow. 
  4. Enhanced website search features and intuitive functionality. 
  5. Robust Content Management System (CMS) for future alteration of visual aspects of the website including fonts, colours, typography, logos, buttons and even layout (display designs), as much as possible.
  6. Mobile ready and seamless content sharing within social media platforms. 
  7. Seamless user experience for the secure member portal and microsites including single sign on.


Information architecture: re-organizing and strategizing the information architecture was a big focus of this project. The public facing website had over 28,000 webpages indexed by Google and member content was mixed in with the public site making the navigation confusing and difficult to use. 

Search: Searching the old ETFO site was complicated and rarely pulled relevant results. We needed to rethink and rebuild the search to meet the demands of the people who are using the site rather wading through countless pages of irrelevant search results. 

Content admin: another focus of the site was to build it in a way that content can be managed by content editors. The old website made it difficult for editors to edit content and add new content items. We took an admin first approach when developing reusable widgets for content editing.

Scope of Work

Our Approach

Teachers Hero Image

We followed our six-step methodology with an extra emphasis on the pre-design phase to take the extra time needed to develop the information architecture. To accomplish this, we did an analysis of site content based on analytics, intended audience, and produced a content audit. Working with the union we were able to craft a comprehensive content inventory that separated the public vs non-public content and started further defining the content types. These content types then informed the information architecture and decisions made during the UX Research phase of the project. 

Image of Sitemap

The analytics revealed that most visits to the website were one-off Google searches. So with many one-off searches it was clear that visitors were using Google to search the website instead of the website's internal search.

To keep users on the ETFO websites we built custom smart search with intuitive filters and tagging. A global search that is seen as part of the menu as well as a specific searches with advanced filtering for the media and publications sections. These searches were customized based on the user journeys and the content that users were looking for.

General search

General search

Media releases search

Media releases search

Publications search

Publications search

Calendar search

Search bar for calendar

Brand Refresh

Inorbital updated the ETFO brand colours to be AODA compliant and modernized their logo with fresh web safe colours that reflect the diverse nature of the union. 
The original colours were muted and felt dated while also failing AODA contrast standards. We presented, and EFTO approved an updated branding proposal that would bring their look and feel into the modern era.

Old brand

Old BrandingNew brand

New Branding

When planning the strategy with ETFO they made it clear that they do not want to spend unnecessary time managing their website and need the CMS to be flexible and easy to administer the different types of content they curate. With this in mind we developed reusable widgets that allow content editors to easily insert content types to pages. We leveraged Kentico’s Page Builder to allow editors to drag and drop widgets and design their pages without knowing any code. 

Teachers’ Federation of Ontario’s work in support of high-quality public education in the province of Ontario. The design, clear navigation, and effective searches allow users to find the information they need quickly and efficiently.

- Karen Brown - ETFO President


The ETFO website rollout was a complete success. ETFO are delighted at how easy their new website is to navigate, use and manage. Users have unanimously reported positive feedback on the design and improved ETFO web presence. Single sign on was implemented for the newly envisioned secure portal for a seamless user experience for both members and public.

Site of the Month September 2021    Kentico Site of the Year Winnter

The new website was awarded Kentico Site of the month as well as Top 10 Government & Institutions Website Designs by Design Rush best website design and scored almost perfect straight A’s with

Site testing score of performance


Project Details

The new website was built with best in-class Kentico CMS which has recently been rebranding Xperience DXP (Digital Experience Platform). The new website features a refreshed brand, much-improved design, total overhaul of the information architecture, easy to use and reliable search all powered with an easy-to-use enterprise class content management system. Visit

ETFO Home page web design

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