EECS hadn’t updated its site since 2006. They needed a new one that would entice a diverse pool of top applicants, organize resources for internal audiences, and reflect the department’s diversity, rigor and prestige.
The not-updated-since-2006 site
It wasn't pretty.
Not surprisingly, interviews and surveys revealed that of all attributes, users found the old site's look and organization most in need of improvement.
content audit excerpt
Examining the old site revealed outdated and redundant content and pointed to new content and organizational needs.
Organic search results were high. Paired with interview insights, these numbers validated the "disorganization" narrative; visitors searched Google to find content instead of browsing the site.
User and client stakeholder research helped us prioritize the graduate program candidate, "Petra," who was looking for information on research. She was also a product of the department's aspiration to recruit more women and ethnic minorities.
Content mapping showed us that this was primarily an information re-architecture project. The original site held thousands of pages that had to be omitted, repositioned or merged into other pages.
Information architecture card sorting
We used Optimal Sort service to understand how our nomenclature and organizational schemes were working—or not working.
We created a content tagging system so that the new site would surface content in appropriate places.
Collaborative sketching sessions with our client posed questions, revealed assumptions and set the course for visual and interactive design.
Our moodboards established the site's look and feel, as well as how it would display type, photography, color and other visuals.
before and after
EECS now boasts a site worthy of its legacy. With redundant content gone and new content made more efficient, users can now find information faster, on more devices, and get a more accurate impression of the department.