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UX and Web Development for the Writing Centre Website

Redesigning and rebuilding the website for the Writing Centre at Emily Carr University.

heroWritingCentre

BACKGROUND

The Writing Centre is a writing support group at Emily Carr University, and required a new website.

MY ROLE

I redesigned the UX and visual design of the site.

I also developed new features for the underlying Wordpress system.

INSIGHTS

Research involved looking at similar websites, and testing the previous site with student participants.

Testing showed the website had a number of issues, including poor information organization and confusing visual design, and needed an all-round update.

Design Highlights

I redesigned the website based on insights from research.

A refreshed homepage shows users what they need at the moment.

The previous site showed information that is not immediately important to a student.

The homepage was rebuilt around starting points for services a student is usually looking for.

homepage

Users wanted to compare the different services offered by the Writing Centre.

A new ‘Services’ page shows what the Writing Centre offers at a glance.

Services can be easily compared with tabs.

homepage

Similarly, users wanted to compare the different tutors available to them.

Tutors are now browsable in a tabbed interface, for quick comparison.

Tutors have specializations, which weren’t immediately obvious.

The tabs now also show their specialization.

homepage

Events, groups and programs were previously spread across different screens.

Events and Programs are now all in one place, for quick browsing.

homepage

One user used Cmd-F to find a Resource during a test of the old website - showing the need for filtering resources.

Resources are now easy to browse and filter quickly.

A filter helps students who know what they’re looking for.

Development Highlights

I rebuilt the site, making it easier for the client to update themselves.

Different kinds of content are now organized in different sections, making management quick.

zoomout

Content like Events now can be updated in one place, and changes reflect across the website.

zoomout

The Resources management interface was simplified, making it easy to add and re-order resources.

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Process + Insights

I began by talking to the facilitators at the Writing Centre about why they wanted a new website, and to learn about how the Centre worked.

initial research

I then began breaking down the current website, looking at how it could be simplified.

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User tests supported this reorganization.

I asked students to perform a number of tasks, to see where they would get confused or stuck.

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I looked at government websites and other Writing Centres to see how content could be structured and visualized.

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I used a balance between clean aesthetics and hand-drawn, fun elements to reflect the Writing Centre’s personality.

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Development involved looking at how content was structured on the current website, and working on how it could be structured better.

team