Early Learning

To ensure communities and systems are structured so all young children have a strong start in life, Early Learning Nation (ELN) connects parents, professionals, advocates, experts, and community leaders with the tools and guidance to promote children’s good health, learning, and future success.


ELN provides communities its Action Guide—a diagnostic assessment tool structured around four essential characteristics that promote healthy child development and community well-being. As a printed and distributed document, the first iteration of the Action Guide did not inherently facilitate collaboration and dialogue between ELN and the Early Learning Communities using it. Translating the physical paper version to an interactive digital experience gave ELN the power to capture and analyze quantitative and qualitative findings to implement stronger support and strategies.

Built from the ground up, the digital Progress Rating Tool renders the same rich structure and methodology of the print Action Guide in an interactive and actionable format. The dynamic survey generates results, applicable solutions, and supplementary resources users can easily share with other community stakeholders. Not only does it provide a means for community leaders and stakeholders to engage with the status of and solutions that best fit their city, county, region, or neighborhood, but it is also a product through which they can measure progress over time. As a platform managed by ELN experts, the digital progress rating tool centralizes data from different types of communities and users all over the country.


LGND initially believed the digital Progress Rating Tool would be a 1:1 adaptation of the print Action Guide; however, further research showed the Progress Rating tool would be much more complex. After creating an action plan for the digital adaptation of the Progress Rating system, LGND began wireframing what the user journey through the Progress Rating Tool would look like. In-depth meetings with the experts who built the Action Guide helped LGND determine what features a user would desire within a digital tool.

LGND then re-wrote ELN’s survey experience criteria to make the digital version match as closely as possible to the paper version of the Progress Rating Tool. This included adapting progress criteria into survey questions and tailoring them to enable users to follow a variety of pathways/journeys depending on their responses within the tool.



The completed tool allows users to create a list of actionable items correlated with building blocks, levels, and targets of the Action Guide. Users can also input budgeting data and add due dates for action items.

01. Discovery

We rely on having a flexible but tested process to ensure project success. During our discovery phase, we created an action plan to adapt ELN’s print guide into a digital experience. We led card sorting exercises to discuss goals and plan out the project and discussions and debates to find the heart of ELN’s problems and how we can solve them together.

02. Iteration

Iteration is the magic that drives our successful projects at LGND. Our team went back to the lab and worked on deliverables for the team’s feedback. Moodboards, wireframes, and content planning documents flew back and forth over Slack and Zoom calls to zero in on solutions. Iterating with stakeholders and gathering feedback keeps us moving forward towards a common goal.

03. Design

Collaboration is a key part of our process. We worked with our internal team, then presented our visual ideas for feedback from client stakeholders. Our goal is always to create a breathtaking, beautiful website, but our primary focus is to make our new websites and tools far more usable and accessible for your most important audiences.

04. Development

Creating an open and accessible web tool starts with design, but is executed in development. Through clean and semantic code, we developed a fully responsive and accessible experience. The site experience is flush with animations and other progressive enhancements, which function across all major browsers and devices.


Since its launch on November 20, 2019, the Progress Rating Tool has impacted thirty-four early learning communities across the nation. From Alameda County, CA, to Madison, WI, to Orlando, FL, the tool has helped hundreds of participants and their communities evaluate their progress, find next steps, and develop comprehensive early childhood plans.

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"Having the tool available digitally allowed our city to engage community members that could not attend our in-person gathering and gave everyone the chance to participate in all the building blocks or only those of interest."

—Dea C. Wright, Director, Office of Early Childhood Initiatives, City of Milwaukee