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Kent State University: UX Website


Representatives from the Kent State University (KSU) Information Architecture and Knowledge Management graduate degree program sought to create a standalone website for its User Experience Design concentration. To help launch the project and provide context, KSU shared previously conducted background information and research, including personas, program goals, course details and a curriculum overview. During the project, I conducted research, documented site content, evaluated the information architecture and developed a new interaction for currently enrolled students.

Competitive Analysis: examining the landscape

I conducted a competitive analysis to examine websites at universities that offer master’s programs in user experience design, or other related fields. These websites were compared against Kent State University’s Information Architecture and Knowledge Management site, housed within the School of Library and Information Science. The goals of the analysis were to examine, identify and understand how competitor programs present content on their websites to prospective and currently enrolled graduate students.

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Concept model: predicting a user's thought process

I constructed a concept model to simulate how current and prospective students might think about the organizational structure of the website and navigate through categories and sub pages. The diagram represented theoretical processes and relationships between pages and links.

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Content inventory: collecting and evaluating content

In referencing the Information Architecture and Knowledge Management website, I catalogued page titles/topics, source URL’s and format types into a content inventory. The goal of the inventory was to organize, classify and locate content for the new UXD website and to identify information gaps.

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Sitemap: mapping the project's hierarchy

To visualize the website’s layout, I sketched multiple iterations of the site’s taxonomy. The sketches included the website’s existing organizational system, as well as newly proposed content. To address the design challenge and help guide users to a desired destination page, I created three new categories within the site’s local navigation: OverviewProspective Students and Current Students. The updated labeling structure gives users the ability to self-select an audience-type before navigating to a page.

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Wireframes: establishing structure and prioritizing content

With the updated architecture in place, I designed a new interaction for currently enrolled students. To detail this process, I created a user flow and wireframes to highlight how students can select and purchase course and program resources, including textbooks and other UXD materials.

The process flow begins at a UXD portal, where users log in by entering their username and password and ends with the user at an item checkout page. While navigating through the site, users are given the ability to select a category from a list of student resources, such as textbooks, and can specify the exact items of interest based on search criteria or through a keyword search. At anytime, items can be added to a shopping cart, which begins the checkout process. The corresponding wireframes describe the context of the interactions, functionality and behaviors.

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