Over this past weekend, my biggest project to date was launched at the campus of Northeastern University. I just completed the website overhaul of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences website. Bouvé is part of Northeastern University in Boston, MA.
This was a very challenging project as the biggest part was in restructuring the site architecture. The previous website structure caused confusion as there were numerous paths to the same information. My goal was to make navigation easy and have all information accessible by as few clicks as possible.
The first part of this project included a trip to Boston to meet 30+ Bouvé faculty members to hear what they wanted in a new website redesign. That was a very interesting process as there were a number of different college departments represented.
The next step was figuring out the best structure for the new website based upon what I learned in the faculty meeting. For this part, I worked with Josh Willis, a website architect in the Atlanta area. He recommended a very simple structure in which each department was represented on the home page, so that each department, and the programs within each department could be easily accessed from every page within the website.
Once the website structure was chosen, I started work on the design. The structure largely dictated many aspects of the design. I also had to fit the design within the Northeastern requirements.
I created two main templates. One template was for the home page. The other template was for the inner pages.
A key part of my design was the top navigation and the left navigation. The top navigation is the same on each page and allows the user to access each department and program from any page in the website.
The left navigation menu changes depending on which department or main area you are in. For instance, if you click on the School of Nursing, the left-side navigation will refer to all areas within the School of Nursing. This allows the user to determine a path in the website and have easy access to dig in deeper using the left menu. The top navigation allows the user to navigate out of that area if they have accessed an area they didn’t mean to pursue.
Another aspect of this design was to upgrade the Video page. Bouvé currently has a number of videos highlighting their college. I created a page where all video thumbnails from YouTube are shown. If any of the thumbnails are clicked, a pop-up appears allowing the user to watch that video within the Bouvé website. Darren Beckett of Threemagination assisted in this video area.
A final component of this website was the addition of a robust faculty directory. This faculty directory consists of images of each faculty member, the ability to search by letter, and the ability to type in a search term to find a faculty member. The faculty & staff of Bouvé also have the ability to add/edit information to this faculty directory. Once they add or edit information, it automatically shows up on the front end of the website. This faculty area was created by Craig Cocca of Threemagination.
I really hope to work on more projects like this one. I enjoyed the challenge of the site restructure, the design work, and the implementation of my design with the Cascade Content Management System.