Website redesigns

I’ve done two major overhauls, one ALMOST major overhaul, and then a myriad of assisting out here and there with smaller projects.

The first was a redesign of the UW School of Nursing website. We had a project team that consisted of myself as project manager and Drupal admin, our communications director and an amazing PHP developer.

We stated  from a flat HTML site. This site had been well constructed, but over the years suffered from sprawl and decentralized administration. It became big and unwieldy. This is a comp from that site:

This is the perfect instance for Drupal so we went that route. We also decided to pull the theme into line with the overall UW Marketing strategy. It was to our benefit to be associated with a stronger brand, and to also have those developers are potential resources for us as well.

Our build ended up looking like this:

This site was so well received that  several other units on campus adopted it as well.

More recently, I worked on a team with a similar composition to redo the Center For Educational Leadership’s (also at UW) website. In this case, we went from an aging site built on Drupal 6 to a Drupal 7 site.

Here’s a before example:

old-cel-website-example

And here’s after:

new CEL website

I think we did a great job, with a lot of credit to my coworkers on this.

One thing I’ve learned by doing this type of collaborative work is that theory goes out the window  sometimes when you get into what people really want.

As far as usability and information architecture are concerned, I think the top level navigation of this project has one flaw. One category is ‘who we serve.’ To me, this should be our users – teachers, principals and district leadership in K-12. Instead, it lists our lines of service and our funders. All important information, but I wish I could have convinced them to use something else. This was a decision driven by things other than best practices in IA/UX.

And that’s OK. Ultimately it’s about what our customers want, not what we want.

My ALMOST major overhaul was my grad school Capstone project. We did a redesign for the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. We did a pretty good job of bringing up a Drupal 7 site for them, but for whatever reasons they decided to stay with a flat HTML site.

Unfortunately, it never occurred to us to do screen caps, as we expected it to be live. As the PM, all I have to show for it is my Capstone Summary.

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