Overview

Our agency embarked on a transformative journey to redesign Radford University’s website, a key initiative underpinned by recent rebranding efforts. As the Creative Director, I led our team through a nuanced UX process tailored to embody Radford’s revitalized brand ethos and enhance the digital experience for its diverse community. The goal was to create a website that not only aligned with the university’s new identity but also effectively served its prospective and current students, faculty, and alumni.

Challenge

Radford University sought a website that aligned with its reimagined brand identity and effectively served its prospective and current students, faculty, and alumni. The challenge was to marry this new brand identity with an intuitive, engaging user experience, optimizing accessibility and user engagement across the board. The website needed to reflect Radford’s academic excellence, vibrant campus life, and strong community values while ensuring ease of use and accessibility for all users.

Industry

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Role

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Scope

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Tools

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Solution

Discovery and Strategy

Our initial phase involved deep dives into Radford’s brand strategy, stakeholder aspirations, and competitive landscape, supplemented by an analysis of the existing site’s performance. This comprehensive exploration ensured our redesign was grounded in Radford’s unique brand narrative and user needs. We conducted workshops with key stakeholders to understand their vision and goals, ensuring that the redesign would align with their strategic objectives.

User Research and Analysis

Leveraging surveys, analytics from the current site, and direct feedback mechanisms, we developed a rich understanding of Radford’s audience segments. Creating user personas and journey maps, we painted a detailed picture of the various users’ paths through the website, spotlighting critical interactions and content needs. This user-centric approach allowed us to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement, ensuring that the new design would cater to the diverse needs of the university community.

Affinity Map Example

Information Architecture and Wireframing

With insights from our research, the project transitioned into structuring Radford’s wealth of content into a user-friendly architecture. Early wireframes laid the groundwork for an intuitive site structure, reflecting the journey maps and personas we had developed. This phase was instrumental in ensuring that Radford’s academic offerings, campus life, and community values were easily navigable and prominently featured. We prioritized content hierarchy and ensured that essential information was easily accessible, creating a seamless user experience.

Persona Examples

Journey Map Example

Sitemap Example

User Flow Example

Wireframe Examples

Radford Wireframe Example

Design and Prototyping

Incorporating Radford’s brand elements into the digital space, we crafted high-fidelity prototypes that brought the university’s narrative to life online. This iterative design process, enhanced by feedback loops from stakeholder reviews and user testing, refined the visual and interactive aspects of the site, ensuring they resonated with users and embodied the university’s ethos. Our design team meticulously developed a UI kit encapsulating Radford’s rebranded visual identity. This toolkit, comprising color schemes, typography, and imagery guidelines, ensured consistency across the website, aiding in a seamless transition to the development phase.

Radford Home Page - Devices

iPad View

mobile View

Radford UI Kit

Development and CMS Integration

The development phase focused on realizing our design vision within the Adobe Experience Manager platform, ensuring the site was responsive, accessible, and easy to navigate. Special attention was paid to integrating CMS capabilities that allowed for easy content updates, reflecting the dynamic nature of Radford’s academic and community activities. Our development team worked closely with content creators to ensure that the new CMS was user-friendly and efficient, enabling staff to manage the site effectively.

Usability Testing and Launch

Before launching, the website underwent comprehensive usability testing to gather actionable insights and make necessary refinements. This process ensured the final product aligned with Radford’s strategic goals and provided an exceptional user experience. We conducted multiple rounds of testing with diverse user groups, including students, faculty, and alumni, to ensure that the site met their needs and expectations. The feedback from these sessions was invaluable in fine-tuning the final design and functionality.

Result

The redevelopment of Radford University’s website successfully bridged the gap between its rich tradition and its forward-looking brand strategy. Highlights include:

  • A significant enhancement in user engagement and interface satisfaction.
  • A digital presence that authentically represents Radford’s brand identity and values.
  • Improved accessibility and navigability, fostering a stronger connection with the university’s community.

The new website has received positive feedback from all user segments, with notable improvements in site traffic, user retention, and overall satisfaction. The intuitive design and streamlined content have made it easier for users to find the information they need, whether they are prospective students exploring academic programs or alumni looking to stay connected with the university.

Conclusion

The Radford University website redesign project exemplifies a strategic, research-driven approach to UX design tailored to the unique needs of the university’s community. By intertwining Radford’s distinct brand identity with a comprehensive UX process, we delivered a digital platform that meets and exceeds its users’ expectations, paving the way for future engagement and growth. This project showcases the importance of aligning design with strategic goals and user needs, resulting in a website that not only looks great but also delivers a superior user experience.