For 23 years, the University of Waterloo has been recognized as the most innovative university in Canada. However, the current school website fails to visually communicate ‘innovation’ with its old, cluttered layout. As a result, I decided to create a concept design for the front page with the goal of improving the visual hierarchy.
Redesign the school’s website to create a bold, exciting, and modern layout that communicates the university’s commitment to innovation.
The first part of research involved conducting a competitive analysis and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of other university websites. I carefully observed the information architecture and the overall visual hierarchy. It was interesting to note that uwaterloo.ca lacked a responsive website when all the major Canadian websites were optimized for mobile devices.
The next step involved learning about the user interactions on the main page. I was unable to gain data from analytic tools such as the heat map. However, I had the opportunity to talk with both internal and external stakeholders to learn more about their experiences with the school website. I focused on questions that assessed how certain visual elements either enhanced or frustrated the user. By validating my assumptions from the results, I was able to build justifications for design decisions.
In order to create a visually appealing layout, it was important to explore the different ways to execute balance, rhythm and composition. Starting with the mobile screen, I tested different wireframes to optimize the flow of the user’s gaze. By designing a well-composed layout, I wanted to lead the eye of the user in the most favourable way. Apart from the visual aspects, the wireframes helped me to prioritize what content should have dominance to effectively deliver important information to the user.