UW Nursing Web Site

A Modern Site for a Modern School

The University of Washington’s School of Nursing needed an update to their web site to match with the broader brand of the University and more importantly make information for external audiences easier to find and use. We completed a full analysis of site content, usability, and design standards and used what we learned to develop a replacement site and create content for its main user-facing areas.

Screenshot of the UW Nursing web site's prior state.

Prior State

The existing web site for the School of Nursing was launched in 2009. Since then, the University of Washington at large undertook a several-million-dollar visual refresh for the entire brand. Security, usability, and technology standards have evolved. Large numbers of disassociated content editors made it difficult for site users to find what they needed in a haystack of words.

Content Triage and Stakeholder Observations

Before any design on the site started, we needed to perform a content audit. We found that most of the content on the existing site to be more focused on internal users, where an intranet solution like Microsoft SharePoint would be better suited. Of the remaining content, we found much of it to be very out-of-date, and categorized the rest into functional domains: Academics, Student Life, Faculty Information, and Research Information.

D2 was quick, helpful, and on-budget. I'm definitely recommending them to other schools and departments here at the University!
Staishy B Siem, Director of PR

Information Architecture

With a clear idea of the stakeholders’ priorities and a fleshed-out content map, we were able to generate an information hierarchy which would very-closely parallel the eventual site map. We divided content between informational pages (which would mostly remain unchanged), and a data model that include news entries, programs and courses, events, and more. Doing so allowed content editors at the school to deal with a single entry that might have an effect across many areas of the site.

Learn more about how well-thought-out information architecture increases the usability of your site.

Design

In order to attain its enrollment, community engagement, and research goals, the School of Nursing needed to be much more succinct in its communication. A picture is worth a thousand words, and we made it clear in the design process that the visual aspect can convey a lot more than just facts in a much more efficient way. To wit, we identified several key landing pages that would receive some custom treatment. Our modular approach to development meant we could still allow editors to modify even highly-customized pages safely.