Case Study: Access-ing the Power of WordPress

Access, an international human rights organization that advocates globally for universal access to open internet as a basic human right, had outgrown its Expression Engine and Blue State Digital integration, and needed a beautiful but very secure alternative that would also allow for complex tagging and content relations.

The organization had already done a lot of thinking about their new site: they had a Project Overview document that outlined functionality, and had already created several detailed wireframes and design mockups to visually describe their vision.

They sought a firm that would see them as a partner in the design and development process, someone who would take and extend their vision into a powerful platform for change, and they chose Cornershop Creative as their firm.


We had a lot of goals for this site, from improved design, to improved navigability, to improved security. Here’s how we approached these important goals:

Design & Content

Access had already laid a great foundation with wireframes, designs, and requirements outlining, and we wanted to be sure everything we did supported their work and vision. So we started with an in-depth discovery session to understand what we were working with: Access’ goals for the new site, the site’s various audiences (and their goals), as well as the already-outlined and not-yet-discovered functional requirements. We supplemented all of this with a content audit to understand their existing content and how it could be reorganized to better facilitate searchability and discoverability. Finally, we ran the design mockups through an online first impression usability test to ensure the new design made sense to folks outside of Access and Cornershop. Together, we updated the mockups to create user-friendly and accessible designs that we later translated into this powerful WordPress site.

Improved Browsing and Searchability

Access has a wealth of information on many varied topics, so we needed to ensure people could easily find what they needed, and also discover things they didn’t even know they needed. We used taxonomies for landing pages, and a complex tagging system that allows Access staff to connect content items’ mandatory tags and optional tags. We rigged up a related content engine to provide suggestions of recently-edited and most-relevant content, but also allows Access staff to manually relate items on the fly. Custom content types support campaign materials, blog posts, press releases, statements, resources, and publications, and a powerful search engine indexes all of the site content, taking advantage of the tagging system we established.


Engaging Networks offered a healthy platform which allowed us to build a robust and engaging Action Center that feeds people towards current actions. Supporter information is saved securely and automatically, and email, donation form, and advocacy templates are synced with the new site design so that supporters have a consistent experience as they move between the website and the third-party platform.

We performed a careful integration of social media sharing to protect the privacy of Access users, while still allowing them to share content with their friends and family.

To ensure maximum reach, we utilized WordPress’ powerful multilingual support that allows content to be displayed in various languages for site visitor and a custom taxonomy to ensure users can filter by content in specific languages.

Secure Hosting

And because Access is obviously very security-oriented, we locked down and fortified the site, and worked with specialty host SilkRoad to ensure that the site passed several security audits before it went live. We enabled HTTPS throughout the site to increase security and privacy.


According to Josh Levy, Advocacy Director at Access, the new site has brought more awareness to the breadth of the organization’s work, and the flexibility of the site has allowed the team to put out more and better-quality content much faster than ever before. And because the site is also better integrated with the organization’s new Engaging Network account, rapid response actions and long-term campaigns have been easier to handle.

“The new site has been huge for us when it has come to the branding of the organization. Accordingly we’ve gotten high praise for the site – both its design and usability.”
– Josh Levy, Advocacy Director, Access

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