The current version of the UI home page site launched in January 2014, replacing a site that dated from 2008. The 2014 redesign process reimagined the site from the ground up, addressing changes in back-end technology, design practices, user expectations, and more.
Goals for redesign included:
- Making decisions based on data (e.g., web analytics) and adopting processes for ongoing assessment.
- Balancing needs of new and repeat users—people just discovering the UI and people who access the site regularly.
- Balancing information and navigation—telling the university’s story while helping people get where they want to go.
- Streamlining navigation, particularly on the home page itself.
- Enhancing second-level pages geared to audiences or providing more info about UI missions and endeavors.
- Implementing a responsive design that scales to mobile devices.
- Adopting a modern content management system.
- Introducing design themes and elements that can be used on other University of Iowa websites.
The redesign was a collaborative process drawing perspectives from across campus. University Communication and Marketing (UCM) started the project by establishing an advisory group of web and communication professionals who helped set goals and offered feedback on early concepts.
To build the site, UCM teamed up with Information Technology Services’ web services group. The team reviewed the research done to date and developed a design.
Numerous campus colleagues offered feedback on the design. Those conversations informed a working prototype presented to larger groups of web developers, communication pros, and university leaders, including collegiate deans and the president’s cabinet.