Smile Train

A powerful platform to advance cleft care for children across the world

Smart Train Teaser Image





Safe and quality cleft care for over a million children globally

Their message needs to spur action and provide resources for a wide variety of audiences, including donors, patients, caregivers, fundraisers, volunteers, and medical professionals. Smile Train’s audiences are spread throughout the world, with an emphasis on serving patients and families in low and middle income countries. This created an even greater need for Smile Train’s site to be mobile-friendly and accessible.


Inspiring and growing a community to create more smiles everywhere

Client Objectives


Streamlining content and reducing the number of content types created a more simplified content editing experience, while optimizing the site’s structure allowed for easily customized features. Smile Train and FFW’s discovery process was thorough and inclusive for their team. This allowed us to deeply understand the project objectives and how to keep Smile Train’s cleft-focused vision and their audiences at the forefront throughout the strategy. 

Fully aligned discovery process

Smile Train had a strong understanding of its needs, wants, and organizational challenges, which created the ideal environment for a discovery that was highly engaging and collaborative. The discovery was focused on aligning on and clarifying project objectives.

Information architecture tailored to user’s needs

Our workshops around personas and information architecture provided valuable insights around who Smile Train’s five key audiences are and how to best message to them. This information laid the groundwork for grouping content and creating a sitemap to help users more easily find and identify content that fits their needs. The platform exists to serve both users and the organization: by allowing users to access the necessary cleft information, and providing the means for Smile Train staff to update the site, while maintaining security, accessibility, and reliability of the site.

Simplified content

Content types were streamlined and reduced from 49 diverse, and sometimes overlapping types, to 7 highly-flexible types. More than a dozen components—such as galleries, cards, tabs, and listings—were implemented to allow editors to remix key pages with less friction. Content was localized to allow Smile Train users in different regions to get relevant content in their language.

Optimized structure

Using best practices, FFW developers configured the site to reduce the friction of deploying or changing features on a per-site basis. With multiple sites, using common code now allows all regional sites to share code and make distributed updates fast and reliable. 


A platform to support Smile Train’s vision and improve the world

Exemplifying a noble mission, better connecting with supporters

Content types reduced from 49
contributed models streamlined from 167
taxonomies reduced from 19

Users are enjoying the near instantaneous speed of Smile Train’s new platform and the vastly improved mobile experience. There were previously pages and functionality that simply didn’t work on mobile. Now, it’s much easier to find sections in the mobile navigation and the search capabilities are intuitive and logical.  

Smile Train’s internal team was included throughout the discovery process, and it’s shown through their receptiveness of the new site. There’s a near universal understanding of why things were built a certain way, and an appreciation of the simplicity and functionality of it. People had their voices heard and felt connected to their sections of the site.

To learn how you can support Smile Train, visit:

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