Wesleyan University’s topic-driven redesign

Wesleyan’s 2009 redesign targeted prospective students, adopted topic-based navigation, and surfaced timely content via RSS. I developed semantic HTML patterns for the new templates, improving accessibility and SEO.

As joint leader of a cross-functional web team I worked on user research, the UI/UX design process, a CMS migration from FrontPage to Cascade, content integrations (events calendar, feed aggregation), marketing strategy, and end-user support for a major update to Wesleyan University’s marketing site.

Reorganizing the site around topics

Simplified navigation and an emphasis on the prospective student journey were high priorities in the new design, based on business priorities as well as user feedback. My team reorganized content across the site to focus more on topic than on audience.

UI sketch outlining simplified navigation, dynamic content channels, and feature tiles.
Caption: The widescreen Wesleyan.edu redesign aggregated and surfaced news and important topical pages from across the University.

Posts as supporting content

The previous site used a custom RSS feature to add notifications to audience-based landing pages. In this version we expanded the number of dynamic regions, added new blog and event data sources, and developed a communications calendar for programming content channels based on recruitment cycles and major events.

Wesleyan University homepage featuring new academic research, upcoming events, and community posts.
Wesleyan.edu’s widescreen design focused on prospective students and featured simplified navigation and dynamic content channels for news, events, photos, and blogs.

Web standards, accessibility, and SEO

This redesign of Wesleyan.edu adopted a standards-based approach. I developed the front-end templates using semantic HTML and CSS, improving the site’s accessibility and SEO characteristics over the previous version. Structural page markup with logical content source ordering provided a more usable document tree for screen readers and web crawlers to parse. The site was navigable using a text-based browser, and was tested in Lynx.

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