We identified several problem areas with the existing site:
By using Google Analytics and in-person surveys, we started eliminating features that weren’t used often, such as embedded videos and the alphabetic index. The site was heavily geared towards prospective students, and we wanted to keep that. However, we realized that almost none of the current VCUarts students used the site, so one of our goals was to make it more useful to them.
Next, we identified all the involved stakeholders, including prospective students, current students, parents, faculty, and staff. Our goal was to set up a tight delivery schedule, involving regular check-ups with primary stakeholders, especially the deans.
Working on some initial style tiles for the new website design. Gotham was the primary typeface for most of the promotional materials produced by the Communications office at the time, so I thought we could try to integrate it into the web redesign.
Some more style tiles — playing around with various font & color combinations.
Simplifying everything and thinking about the modular approach to the site. Thinking about how the site could be split into flexible blocks, each serving as a pathway into a different section of the site.
Each box can be used as a content container.
Thinking of boxes/modular elements serving as links.
Putting everything together. A this point, we have a solid layout/typeface direction.
Adding a background image that serves as a texture and changing colors. What if each website section had its’ own color scheme?
This is getting somewhere.
Simplifying the navigation menu.
Coding the first prototype. Using SASS/Susy for flexible grid system. From this point, the majority of visual exploration is done through the code.
“How to Apply” page — this actually made it to production!
Prototyping more block ideas and thinking how this will all work in the back-end.
Realizing that the menu does not look great. What if it was some kind of 3d shape? How can we maintain the legibility and yet make it exciting?
Making the menu a box to match the rest of the site. Adding a third dimension to make it stand out.
Communications director: “Let’s remove the tertiary nav on top of each page.”
Sending everything to the deans and getting feedback.
Even after the launch, the site is a constant work in progress. Our goal is to continue gathering feedback from all of our users and keep improving the VCUarts experience.