Increasing usability by reducing complexity

NYU's Office of Academic Program Review & Assessment (OAPRA) helps coordinate complex processes—like adding a degree offering—between the university, its schools and departments, and accrediting agencies.

OAPRA partnered with us to improve their site—as well as their own workflows and load management—via an experience that would enable users to more easily navigate these complex processes.
Website Redesign
Experience & Content Design
Content Migration

Working inside the box

OAPRA's site exists within the larger university ecosystem, so we were constrained to the design system and CMS (Adobe Experience Manager) already in place—no new design components or functionality could be added. Plus, much of content on the site was regulatory in nature and had to persist on the new site with few changes, if any.
New York University

Gettin’ jigsaw-y with it

We combined elements from the existing design system in creative ways, giving the impression of having introduced new components. We also paced content through careful attention to hierarchy and use of imagery, iconography and whitespace. The resulting pages are easier to both scan and focus on.
New York University
New York University
New York University
New York University
New York University

Saved by IA

Our discovery process included a benchmarking survey of real users. The data showed that confusing pathways, jargon-y labeling conventions and poor content design caused user frustration. Nearly identical content across the site further hindered usability. And a complete lack of contact information made it even more difficult for users to achieve their goals.

So we re-architected around rational user pathways and understandable naming conventions. From the overall site name down to the deepest content pages, we ensured that our new IA and labeling conventions mapped to a user’s journey of requesting and discovering pertinent info.

Content design delivers

We extensively reworked the design of content detailing the processes for adding or changing a program—a key function of the site, and one of its most complicated. We designed a visual checklist of guidelines that were specific enough to be accurate and useful, yet general enough to remove the need for caveats and slight variations.

We then redesigned the pathways following a general-to-specific progression. A user first identifies a level of study for the program they wish to add or change, then whether any specific considerations are required, then finally whether they wish to add or change that program.

This boosts a user’s confidence in their journey and ensures that it ends on a page tailored to their specific needs.