WeDesign Website Design & Iterations
WeDesign is an art and design education company that provides global access to the world’s finest art and design interactive and experiential education from high school to pre- and post-college, adult learners, and senior executives. The company provides both online and in-person programs, and connects world-class faculty with the students.
When it first started, the main programs it offers are VIP programs that are set to be easily customizable based on the student’s academic goal, level, and interests, and mainly delivered 1:1 through online live video conferencing platform. There are also offline intensive/short-term programs provided now.
The main purpose of the WeDesign website project is to create a clean, trendy and straightforward website to portray WeDesign’s goals and objectives, layout the detailed content and descriptions of programs that WeDesign provides.
In this website development project, I worked as the primary strategic designer reporting back to the CEO; as the project manager and principal user researcher in collaboration with the academic team and marketing manager; and as the principal UX/UI Designer under the supervision of design director.
Marketing, Art and Design Education
Strategic Planning, Research, UX/UI Design, Responsive Web Design, Multi-language
December 2017 - November 2018
Stages of Development
Research & Planning
Defining User Group / Create Persona
Define Domain, research on the domain, Competitive Analysis
Wireframe & Prototype Design
User Interface Design
Iterations - Testing, Redesign & Rebuilt Milestone 1
Iterations - Redesign, Testing & Redesign & Rebuilt Milestone 2
01. Research & Planning
1.1 Stakeholders Interview
The company is at a starting position. It’s important to have a website built out quickly to start presenting information to potential clients.
Establish an online portal for people to know about WeDesign, our missions, and content
Provide a clear online message and easy navigation
Offer information on all the content that WeDesign provided
Increase awareness for WeDesign brand, increase visibility and broaden exposure
Keep related parties better informed
Provide searchable online learning video library
Provide contact methods
Be flexible and extensible for further development and incorporate more content like online video learning, interactive art experience
Based on the evaluations of the constraints, and the objectives, I separate them into different stages:
The scope of the entire project can be divided into three stages:
Phase 1: Short Term - Building a quick static website to increase brand awareness (Because of time and budget, we choose to use a web development platform - Wix)
Phase 2: Mid - Long term - Expanding more features of the website, creating a dynamic website with more user interactions
Phase 3: Future Development - Connecting different digital system together (Website, online learning platform etc)
1.2 Defining User Group
Our first couple of programs are mainly designed for Pre-College education. The target audiences are people who want to acquire skills, create art and design portfolio to get into art and design university.
Primary User Group: Students 15-19 years old & their parents
The user group will keep expanding as the business grow.
According to the company’s previous market research, there’s a growing need for higher education especially in art and design area in China, so when designing the website, I need to consider the localization for Chinese audiences.
Since we are targeting users from all over the world, online programs will be the main program. So the accessing speed of the website, the level and the accessibility of using the computer and different software is another consideration (This problem has been the primary challenge when we were researching for WeDesign learning management platform.)
1.3 Domain research & Competitive Analysis
Website | Art & Design | Education | Portfolio | Online Learning | E-Learning
For different sets of domains, I did a round of competitive analysis and found some references at the intersection of different domains for the interface design.
After Initial meetings and research, I generated a project proposal with the timeline needed resources in each stage for review, and also for future reference.
02. Phase 1 Design
2.1 Information Architecture
Based on the business goal, I outlined several pages that the Phase 1 website should have besides a landing page. We added more features on the later iterations
Programs Page - Displaying all the program content
Video Page - Designed to be extendable, if later on we have more free online art and design educational video, we can put them under this category
About Page - Team and Faculty included
We later separated Faculty into a single page as the academic team grows. Since the online Programs are the core products of the company, most of the students wanted to know their faculty before taking the course.
First Draft Sitemap
Second Iteration - Website Blueprint
2.2 Wireframes & Prototype Design
I made a lot of small iterations and changes while designing the key screen visual design, some of the designs were not reflected in the early stage of wireframes. In the initial stage, we only had four main pages- Home, Programs, Faculty and About
2.3 User Interface Design
I got some inspirations and references from the domain research I did earlier. Based on the color palette, I explored different design possibilities. I tested among the team, the feedback was it’s too dark for education. The website should give a hope, growth feeling.
We eventually landed at this:
Stage 1 - Building with Wix
The goal of the company at the initial stage was quickly set up one website as a portal to reach to the audiences, so we chose to use Wix.
Stage 2 - Further Development
For further development, we are moving some of the pages to Wordpress. I’m working as the UX/UI designer collaborating with the development team and operations manager. We are implementing online course selection and various payment method(Paypal, Alipay, Wechat payment) into our Wordpress website.
04. Major Iterations
4.1 Testing & Redesign & Rebuilt - Milestone 1
Reasons for Redesign & Problems Encountered
A smooth and direct transition between individual pages across English and Chinese site (Wix Development Challenge)
Programs display is not attracting enough attention – Index category on the landing page should be expandable (UX Challenge)
Poor representation of faculty & teaching assistants (UX Challenge)
Branding consistency (Branding Challenge)
Student testimonial design (UX Challenge)
Footer design (UX Challenge)
Sign-up rates for programs are, hard to sort out different programs’ signup. (UX Challenge)
SOME DESIGN SOLUTIONS:
I designed two sites that precisely the same, and put the "go to Chinese website" button for each page, links to individual pages
Enhanced Programs Display – as the main products – by increasing the proportion, lower the Screen Complexity
Separate Faculty and Assistant faculty to different categories with better display and full information popup window
Separate program signup sheets into their individual pages, when user scroll to the bottom, they can sign up without going back to main site
4.2 Redesign, Testing & Redesign & Rebuilt Milestone 2
Reevaluate User Needs, Adding features
Added news and events to our page
We’ve held a lot of events, to reach out to more audience and keep a record of the events that we owned, we added Events page for people to sign-up to our Design related Events, and News page for social media specialist to write about recent events.
To make the process of inputting faculty info easier
Created a template and connected Wix database to it. This makes the process quicker and easier for the academic team to import faculty info data