NC STATE UNIVERSITY CORE REDESIGN

Project Intent:
To redesign ncsu.edu to create a better user experience through the reorganization of content and messaging and the restructuring of the navigational system.

As the NC State homepage is a highly trafficked site, it serves as a platform for central NC State messaging. The redesign was a push to unveil the new NC State brand by creating consistent UI assets that would also be flexible enough to be adopted across various NC State partners.

While the organization of the navigational system can assist in influencing user impressions of NC State, much of the heavy lifting will lie within the individual landing pages and the contextual examples that are provided there.

Aside from the content and messaging that lie within each physical section, the navigational system facilitates an experience that is innovative in its emphasis on narrative and interaction. By reducing the breadth of the content (in pages, not substance), NC State will be more purposeful in brand messaging and more strategic in providing utility to users in order to facilitate an exceptional user experience.

Old site architecure, mapping out three levels away from main page.

Objectives:
The main objective in designing the navigational system was to encourage users to interact with content.  

According to a one-year analytics summary ending on October 22, 2013, NC State users average 2.14 pages/visit (1.78 pages/visit over the last 30 days). By crafting thoughtful, interactive experiences on top-level landing pages will allow NC State to engage users more effectively.  Since the majority of traffic starts on the homepage, on average, NC State only has one homepage and one landing page to influence and engage users.  

The redesign attempted to meet the user in the middle by better understanding their collective behavior.

The proposed site architecture simplified the experience for users.

Personas:
NC State has a diverse audience: current students, future students, alumni, faculty and staff, industry and government all with different needs and behaviors.

The redesign incorporated research from user-tesing to adjust to provide a better experience for ncsu.edu users.

Consistency among user responses about the old site.

Ideation:
Applying the research from the user testing, multiple organizing structures were ideated on to determine the best flow. The content and hierarchy of the site was also considered. What types of information make sense together, what would the user expect?

Wireframing and Iteration:
How can the scale and delivery of content on a single page reflect the overall organization of the site? What are the relationships between pages?

grid study

responsive grid study

UI Typographic Module Explorations:
The UI approached in a modular and interchangeable format.

Typographic modules were explored to bring visual consistency to the site as well as improve to improve readability. Relationships between modules were explored individually and collectively.

Type styles were based off of Bootstrap in order to create a flexible and consistent system.

Multiple studies were done within the Bootstrap framework to establish the best visual hierarchy.

UI Image-based Module Explorations:
Image-based modules were also explored to create an easier user experience with players and to improve visual consistency. Relationships between modules were explored individually and collectively.

The image-based UI incorporated the new color palette as well as maintained a flat aesthetic.

Some of the UI assets created: utility bar, icons, calendar, footer, logo.

 

Redesigned Site:
The new UI and UX creates a much more fluid experience for the NC State user while reflecting the new NC State brand.

Redesigned homepage

Redesigned Research landing page

The core site is responsive to work with mobile platforms and flexible to be adopted by any NC State partner.