Modernizing The History of The California Missions Online

Anyone in California with a child in fourth grade is likely familiar with the process of having to help their child select and research one of the 21 historical missions of California. And, when that research involves a search on the internet, chances are pretty high that the California Missions Resource Center was a source they used in their quest for information.

The site has long been a dependable resource for inquisitive students and curious adults seeking information on the California Missions. However, an aging site and antiquated experience were starting to impact user engagement – and with it, a decline in much-needed sales. 

They needed a new site, with a fresh perspective, to both engage new users and facilitate sales through their online store. We took a fresh look at the users, the goals for the site, and crafted a new experience from the ground up that would improve engagement.

Stifled By Outdated Web Design and Diminishing Performance

The California Missions Resource Center has been a leading source of online information about the California Missions since 2003, and in peak season can have millions of page views. 

Over time, traffic and conversions started to decline. The site was running on a 10-year old design with several Flash-based interactive elements that no longer worked on some modern browsers. Although some changes had been made to bring the site up to date for mobile devices, the site was starting to experience a decline in traffic, increased bounce rates, and lower sales for the online store section.

The California Missions Resource Center desperately needed a refresh that would help improve user engagement while helping drive sales of their products (without diminishing the value or experience of the site’s primary content).

Revitalized For Engagement With A Fresh, Modern Design and Enhanced Features

We worked closely with the California Missions Resource Center to gain clarity about the site users, what was important to them, and how interactions could be improved. 

We conducted research to identify and segment the users into distinct audiences, analyzed past traffic patterns to prioritize content, and created a new strategy for optimizing user engagement with mission content (the core of the site). Next, we re-created the old interactive items so they would work in modern web browsers, while still providing an interactive and appealing experience. 

Finally, we added store-centric calls-to-action throughout the site in key sections, highlighting additional resources without overshadowing the core mission content, while also reshaping the store so each audience segment could easily find the products most appealing to their needs.

With a new structure and content improvements, we crafted a new, fresh, and modern responsive design to wrap everything up. With interactive maps, robust photo galleries, and concise navigation, the new site now provides a cleaner, contemporary, and fluid experience, with targeted content so visitors to access what they want more efficiently. 

The new California Missions Resource Center is a standout in the category. With a contemporary design, and robust content, the new site provides an esthetically pleasing experience consistently and ranks high in search results.

After launching the new site, we saw a measurable improvement in engagement, with session duration increasing by 18%, bounce rate dropping by 11%, and the average time on page increasing by 30%.

18% Increase in Session Duration
11% Drop in Bounce Rate
12% Increase in Sessions Per User
Improved Mission Summary and Map
Improved Mission Image Galleries with Modal and Description
California Missions Store Screen Capture
Created by Adrien Coquetfrom the Noun Project

It has been a great experience working with Tangent on our website. They’ve always been thoughtful about the big picture and providing us with helpful direction throughout the process.

David McLaughlin
President - California Missions Resource Center

Before and After