An exercise in UX & Responsive Design


acac Fitness and Wellness Centers are beautiful and outstanding facilities. They are not what you picture when you think of “the gym” and that’s exactly what acac founder Phil Wendel set out to do.

acac caters to all ages with a variety of activities and programs at multiple locations in Charlottesville, Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, Baltimore, Maryland, and West Chester, Pennsylvania. From summer camps to swim lessons to physical therapy to racquet sports to group exercise classes, our challenge was to present this massive amount of information in an intuitive manner on all devices.

What We Did

  • User Research
  • Information Architecture
  • Interaction Design
  • Visual Design
  • Front-End Development
  • Back-End Development
  • WordPress Development
  • Hosting + Support
What Can We Do For You?

Location, Location, Location

Through user research and website analytics, it quickly became apparent that acac members, customers, and potential customers should have a website that focuses on acac’s individual clubs first.

acac members want to know the activities occuring at their club on a daily and weekly basis. Other customers need to find information about programs, such as summer camp or swim lessons, occuring at the club closest to them. Potential customers want to learn about the amenities at the specific club they would frequent the most if they joined. Most of the time, these user groups are less interested in the events and news going on at the other clubs.

Therefore, we presented an information architecture that focused on the individual clubs first while still maintaining the corporate brand identity throughout the design.

Mobile First

With two-thirds of the website traffic coming from returning visitors and over half occuring on mobile devices, we created a responsive design that people can enjoy anywhere.

We were fortunate that acac had a lot of beautiful photographs to offer, which we integrated throughout the site. Creating a stunning visual impression was critical for the sector of their audience who are potential members or customers.

But, much of acac’s web traffic are members who are checking class times and offerings. They do not need to see the same images over and over again when they are on the go and need to find out when that next Zumba class is being held, for example. So on smaller screens (phones), we modified the layout of the home page and other member-focused pages in order to provide simple access to information like the group exercise calendar or kids zone hours.

We also implemented a variety of caching rules based on the content, and minified all image assets and scripts to deliver a reliable mobile experience.

Back-End Development

Under the hood, is not your basic WordPress website. Yet on the surface, it’s much simpler to navigate and easier to find information than ever before.

acac’s old site was built on top of WordPress and that was a requirement going forward. We’ve been working with WordPress since 2006, so we know a thing or two about extending the platform. We built custom post types and taxonomies to manage acac’s locations, clubs, announcements, and testimonials. We offered acac more flexibility with their pages and blog posts by creating custom fields and page templates. We also integrated third-party plugins that we vet thoroughly to accomplish other requirements, such as form creation and search engine optimization.

In addition to WordPress development, we integrated with acac’s member and scheduling API’s allowing users to access their account information, browse current exercise class schedules, and learn more about their favorite instructors. Presenting data from these disparate applications provides the user a pleasant and seamless experience across systems within the new website.



The site launched during the first quarter of the year, which is typically the busiest time for any exercise facility. There was an immediate positive impact with a 25% decrease in bounce rate and a 16% increase in time spent on the site.

Christine Thalwitz
Vice President of Marketing, acac
Christine Thalwitz
Vice President of Marketing, acac

Storyware has been the ideal partner for our website re-design. Todd, Graham and the Storyware team are very knowledgeable and efficient, and they offer incredible customer service. From research and planning to development and testing, their organized approach kept our project on track. We highly recommend Storyware’s services to anyone looking for beautiful, functional website design.

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