Maryland Family Network

Maryland Family Network Case Study

Maryland Family Network ensures that young children have strong families, quality learning environments, and a champion for their interests.

Please think of the children first. If you ever have anything to do with their entertainment, their food, their toys, their custody, their childcare, their health care, their education – listen to the children, learn about them, learn from them. Think of the children first.” — Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood

New design with simplified, accessible navigation.


Maryland Family Network's original site had grown unwieldy due to business expansions and acquisitions at the successful non-profit. Their site was built with WordPress and had become cumbersome for employees to manage and for clients to navigate. By adding new areas to the site, the navigation had become multi-layered, increasing users' complexity and time to find important information. The website had become slow to load, and its aesthetic tired.

Maryland Family Network needed a modern and fast site that would allow employees to add new content regularly. From childcare service professionals to the general public, clients required the website to have a consistent approach to content, so becoming simple to search and easy to navigate.

Old design with many competing layers of navigation. 

Our Approach

Initially, we needed to inventory the existing site's content to determine how to organize it best. Working through the site, we could pare down duplicated content and develop a workflow to make future updating easy. In conjunction with MFN Communications Director Doug Lent, Pip Coders' editorial director, Martha Thomas, rewrote a considerable amount of the MFN site to create 'content buckets' to standardize content creation. They succeeded in reducing the original site's complexity and honed a succinct message for Maryland Family Network. 

Once we understood how the content would be reorganized, we could develop a new, more engaging design. We wanted to amalgamate their print design concepts to complement their MFN style identity. Since Maryland Family Network is a non-profit focusing on the wellbeing of young children, we wanted the aesthetic to be colorful and fun while being effortless to navigate. Working closely with their marketing team, we produced interconnected wireframes that demonstrated our approach. The navigation was simplified to offer multiple ways to find content. We decided on pictorial menu blocks for accessibility, a quick-find dropdown menu, and a search facility integrated on a high-capacity Solr server.