University of Minnesota CAREI Website Redesign

The Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, or CAREI, at the University of Minnesota is working to improve the quality of education for learners throughout the state. With a recent update to their mission and vision, CAREI needed a new website that was better organized and more clearly communicated these messages throughout. Faced with a tight timeline and limited internal resources, the center turned to Olive & Co. for help redesigning the website and improving the user interface.

Services:
  • Copywriting
  • Design
  • Development
  • UX

Challenge

The existing CAREI website did not effectively communicate what the organization did or why their work was important. In order to revitalize the website, the Olive team needed to reorganize the content, improve navigation and develop a new look and feel. However, with no brand guidelines to be followed, the new designs would need to complement the CAREI logo and make use of a color palette established in previous collateral. Additionally, the Olive team needed to collaborate with two different groups of stakeholders within the university as well as a U of M copywriter who would be creating content throughout the process.

Strategy

Working closely with the CAREI content team, we created an information architecture and UX plan for the site, which helped inform our development strategy and allowed us to build the site more efficiently. Upon sitemap approval, we quickly moved into developing homepage wireframes and provided three design concepts, which were reviewed by the CAREI and the U of M development teams. Once a concept was selected, the Olive development team worked to carry the concept through to individual internal pages. Because the site was relatively small and the content needs for internal pages varied greatly, templates were not a viable option here. Throughout the development process the Olive team focused on coding the site to allow for content management by the CAREI team, as well as site maintenance and integration of dynamic content by the U of M internal development team. After multiple reviews by all stakeholders, the site was approved for completion of the buildout by the U of M team.

Results

In the end, the Olive team was able to work within U of M guidelines for developing and maintaining websites to help CAREI revitalize their online presence and more clearly communicate their mission. We provided final development files to the U of M internal development team, which was able to easily and efficiently carry our designs throughout all internal pages and transition to the live site. Since going live, the update has breathed new life into the brand and provides visitors with a much more intuitive path to learn more about CAREI services and expertise.