Web App

Vello Web Portal

An App to Help Elementary Students Improve Their Ability to Read and Write

1,500+
students using Vello enrolled in 7 states
100+
classrooms using Vello each day
30,000+
books read since Vello's launch

Challenge: Give elementary students the reading support they need

Many elementary children never master reading and writing. This problem compounds as they age and contributes to poor high school graduation rates all over the country. The solution is relatively simple: reading with children improves their literacy.

Valley of the Sun United Way (VSUW) wanted to build something that made it easier for kids to find someone to read with them.

SolutionAn app to connect students with remote volunteers

VSUW hired Sitewire to create a web app (eventually called Vello) that would allow volunteers from anywhere to read with children in elementary schools. By removing the barrier of having to be in the same room, Vello opens up the pool of volunteers to virtually anyone.

We helped VSUW name, brand, design, develop, and implement this new app.

All-new, student-focused brand

Brand exercises helped us define the app’s visual look and feel. VSUW wanted the brand to embody the empowerment and knowledge the application provides to students.

Scheduling made easy

The main purpose of the app was to make it simple for teachers to match students with volunteers. We built a scheduling tool that integrates with Google Calendar and Outlook. It also sends text messages as reminders and alerts when there is an upcoming session or schedule updates. 

Increased student engagement

In a pilot study, VSUW found that 86% of teachers saw improvement in reading skills from students involved in the Vello program. In addition, 79% said they saw increased class-wide engagement with all students are more involved in classroom discussion.

Our approach

Collaborative branding exercises

We hosted collaborative working sessions to better understand the purpose and vision behind Vello. We then created a brand identity that included a logo, colors, patterns, communication style, photography, and more.

Community-designed user experience

Sitewire brought together a number of stakeholders including volunteers, teachers and kids to get an idea of what sort of product would suit their needs best.

Beta/pilot phase

We helped launch and beta test the application across Arizona for the first year. We then ironed out some bugs and added additional features based on feedback from our teachers and volunteers.

Product marketing

To help Vello get the word out about this new tool, we created pitch decks, brochures, help documentation, and a microsite.

Case Studies

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