​How UW-Milwaukee re-designed for the LAST time

How UW-Milwaukee redesigned for the LAST time
John Mills, Digital Designer, University of Wisconsin-Milwauke

Sounds final. You know what they say, “never say never.”

He sees what he does as being at the center of the combination art, science, and philosophy.

30k students. Centralized infrastructure but decentralized content. Around 800k uniques per month.

His POV is you should

  • Keep it simple.
  • Do it right (avoid re-inventing the wheel.)
  • Pursue awesome.

Getting top down support is key. A good web steering committee can help with buy-in. (Hm. I wonder if death by committee can also be a bad thing-how to avoid?) Trust helps manage expectations. Scope creep is a problem so understanding accurate scale of work to be done is key.

Also, integrate media and content early (photographers, videographers, editors, etc…)

Doing an initial audit is key to establishing resource appropriate scope. Survey of expectations in his case was personal and involved conversations. MEETINGS! But this was good as local content experts were worth talking to…

Search and maps were highest traffic but worst looking sites.

Navigation changes were also proposed because audiences were not self-identifying properly (according to analytics.)

They took all the data campus-wide and dumped it into an API… I’d like to know more…

Feedback was key – establish good channels for hearing it and acting on it.

They also looked closely at traffic patterns and took a month to month approach at each section in the main nav to re-evaluate.

They moved from I.S. to Marketing (internal shift.)

Was it really the LAST re-design? He note that the future of redesigns has changed and points to the system of organization and content strategy that emerged as being beneficial to handle any forward moving design changes.

In terms of his recent move to Marketing from IS, he said sure there are some conversations whereby the learning curve is a problem, but overall it is about keeping yourself informed in order to communicate through those learning curves.