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NJIT Website Redesign

CHALLENGE
NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology) is a top STEM University, and its aging website was sorely in need of a complete redesign. Online applications and leads to NJIT were weak, due to the confusing and fragmented site experience. The redesign had a few major objectives:

• Prioritized Mobile / Responsive Experience
• Drive enrollment
• Communicate the mission and vision of NJIT
• “Defragment” the site

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SOLUTION
I led the team and client through the full UX lifecycle of this large-scale site redesign. We followed a user-centric approach, iterating and testing designs with real users at every step of the project. The major phases of the project included: 

• UX Research
• Information Architecture
• Wireframes
• Visual Design
• Front-end Development

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PHASE 1. 
DISCOVERY AND RESEARCH

We conducted an extensive discovery and research phase that included:

• Audience Analysis workshops
• Persona creation
• Baseline User Tests

• Online Card Sorting
• Competitive Audit
• Content Audits
• Current Sitemap
• Brand & Creative Workshops
• Research Report

Businesses committed to a socially responsible and brighter future are brought into the Chase Brighter Network.

Consumers are rewarded for shopping at these businesses with low interest rates and double/triple reward points.

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USER PERSONAS

To better understand the wants and needs of our users, we created ficitious representations of eleven NJIT users, ranging from "Frank, the Future Student" to "Gary, the Guidance Counselor." 

Businesses committed to a socially responsible and brighter future are brought into the Chase Brighter Network.

Consumers are rewarded for shopping at these businesses with low interest rates and double/triple reward points.

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CARD SORTING

We ran card sorting exercises to understand how real users thought about content, labels and site tasks... not how the University staff thought about. We wrote out 60 cards representative of primary content and tasks, and asked users to group these cards into categories and label them. This gave us insight and another input in how to re-organize the sites architecture.

Businesses committed to a socially responsible and brighter future are brought into the Chase Brighter Network.

Consumers are rewarded for shopping at these businesses with low interest rates and double/triple reward points.

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INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

We met with client content owners to define what content remains, is modified, deleted or needs to be created. We then proceeded to create a high-level conceptual sitemap.

Businesses committed to a socially responsible and brighter future are brought into the Chase Brighter Network.

Consumers are rewarded for shopping at these businesses with low interest rates and double/triple reward points.

USER TESTING OF THE PROPOSED INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

With a hypothesis of how we thought the IA and primary navigation should be organized, we created a clickable prototype that we put in front of users to validate.

Businesses committed to a socially responsible and brighter future are brought into the Chase Brighter Network.

Consumers are rewarded for shopping at these businesses with low interest rates and double/triple reward points.

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IDENTIFYING TEMPLATES

After reorganizing and testing a sitemap, we identified 24 templates. These would provide the foundation for an estimated 20,000 site pages worth of content.

Businesses committed to a socially responsible and brighter future are brought into the Chase Brighter Network.

Consumers are rewarded for shopping at these businesses with low interest rates and double/triple reward points.

CMS BRICKS APPROACH

We established upfront an approach where we would design configurable bricks. Mix and match them to create unique layouts, within four predefined templates in the CMS.

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PRESENTING OUR RESEARCH REPORT

After the user interviews, UX exercises and client workshops, we packaged our insights, findings and recommendations into a 105 page report. At the end was our strategy for moving into the design phase.

Businesses committed to a socially responsible and brighter future are brought into the Chase Brighter Network.

Consumers are rewarded for shopping at these businesses with low interest rates and double/triple reward points.

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PHASE 2.
WIREFRAME

We proceeded to wireframe key templates, and 100+  views describing both desktop and mobile web experiences.

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DRIVING ENROLLMENT

Strong calls-to-action around three fundamental actions – Apply, Request Info, or Schedule a Visit – were weaved into the fabric of the overall design system.

Beyond design... I made marketing recomendations around what they could be doing to drive traffic, and converting users once they arrive. Everything from creating "Major/Degree Explainer videos" to drive organic traffic, to  "conversion" landing pages, that summarized salary and other stats for a particular major, intended to get the visitor to request additional info. 

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PHASE 3.
VISUAL DESIGN

A fresh visual design that retained the brand essence while pushing a new, modern aesthetic was applied across desktop and mobile.

DESKTOP VIDEO OVERVIEW

Moving through the homepage, on through to admissions and on to finding a guidance counselor.

Businesses committed to a socially responsible and brighter future are brought into the Chase Brighter Network.

Consumers are rewarded for shopping at these businesses with low interest rates and double/triple reward points.

MOBILE VIDEO OVERVIEW

Wayfinding to and through campus is a major mobile task.

Businesses committed to a socially responsible and brighter future are brought into the Chase Brighter Network.

Consumers are rewarded for shopping at these businesses with low interest rates and double/triple reward points.

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