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Yale School of Arts

Case Study

March 2021

 

About

Yale School of Arts is a graduate school that offers MFAs in Graphic Design, Painting, Photography and Sculpture. Their website is unique in the fact that it is designed to be like a wiki in which various members of the school can publish and share information through the site. The site’s main purpose is to update students with current events and for future students with information about application and the programs available.

It was intruiging to see a website of an Ivy League school to follow unorthodox methods for a website. The study’s purpose is to be able to analyze the current site, identify the ideal users, and redesign it to reach its goal. In turn, I might be able to evolve as a designer and learn new skills to help me in future case studies.

Role

UX/UI Designer

Software

InDesign
Photoshop

01. Research

Challenge

A school website’s main purpose is to inform current or future students about current events, but how can the site go beyond that purpose? How can it cater to future graduates and help them after graduation? What reason would graduates and alumnus have to go back to the school website? These questions pose a challenge for a new UX designer, and in this case study, we will be exploring the solutions to this challenge.

The main challenge is to update the site, visual and function-wise. To give a reason for students to actively use the site before and post-graduation.

Site Analysis

The site analysis helps create an understanding of the site and its features. During the process,

I was able to identify pain points of the site which can be further developed during the empathy step in the design process.

02. Empathize

Persona

During the empathy research, I created user persona and task analysis to help figure out the needs and motivation of the user. From this we can further explore the pain points of the user to better develop a plan to reach the site’s goal.

Task Analysis

The task analysis is to help identify what needs to improve in the website and also show how the user would interact with the site. The chart will have a ranking from highest priority (1) to lowest priority (5) of the user to the task/goal.

After analyzing the Journey Map and Task Analysis, defining the pain points is the next step to be able to create solutions during the prototyping phase.

Pain Points

1. Homepage

The homepage is the first contact to every user who wants to access the information on the website. It creates the first impression that sets the tone for the rest of the user’s experience. The current website’s homepage invokes chaos for the user and creates a very unorganized and unsettling experience. It is difficult to find information, links, and news without having to play “Where’s Waldo”.

2. Learn More

The Graduate page needs more attention to notify students about the opportunities and benefits it holds. Word of mouth is not enough to bring students to use the page, but a better CTO and banners on the front page, and a dedicated page section would benefit not only the students but the traffic on the website.

3. Making Connections

Creating organic connections is hard, especially online. Developing a comment section and integrating social media to the site, helps students connect with other students and the alumni.

03. Ideate

Style Tile

Moving into the design, I curated a style tile to help define the visual aesthetics for the high fidelity prototypes in the next process. The colours and design are draw from Yale University, but with a modern and updated twist for the Yale School of Arts.

Low-fidelity Prototypes

Brainstorming for the solutions to the pain points start with paper prototypes. I focused on the homepage and then the graduate/alumni sections of the website since these would have to be made from scratch.

04. Design

High-fidelity prototype

Hi-fi Prototypes are designed with the pain points in focus along with a redesign of the visuals and formatting of the website.
The Invision project can allow the user to interact with the high fidelity prototype and comment on anything that should be revised or adjusted.

05. Validate

Invision Test Feedback

Receiving peer feedback is key to be able to evolve the design to reach a better solution for the pain points. Having a second opinion and being able to implement that into design is key. During this process I gathered the feedback from the prototype testing and revised the design and functions.

Prototype Revisions

Receiving peer feedback is key to be able to evolve the design to reach a better solution for the pain points. Having a second opinion and being able to implement that into design is key. During this process I gathered the feedback from the prototype testing and revised the design and functions.

Reflections

This case study for Yale School of Arts was educational experience and reminded me how user focused design should be. I learned how to process and integrate peer feedback into my design and it helped me with the review and revision process. I realized during my revision process, I wasn’t paying much attention to details. During the UX design process, the most difficult part was the research and creating the journey map, but I learned how crucial those steps are for the final prototype of the site.

I enjoyed the design process the most and being able to create solution for the pain points. Being able to intergrate my prototype into Invision and seeing it come to life was a good experience.