Mobile First Website Redesign

January 2020 - August 2020


The NWTC website needed a redesign to align with brand improvements, increased mobile traffic, changes in accessibility requirements and user expectations. Content intended for different audiences was disorganized causing confusion among visitors. We also needed a major upgrade that would require an entirely new site build.

NWTC website on a laptop and a mobile device
NWTC website on a mobile device


NWTC worked with a third party (Skyline Technology Solutions) to design a new interface for the NWTC website that was based on user needs. While Skyline provided the initial user research and design, our internal web team completed the implementation of the project. I served as the primary project manager during this time and contributed to the overall design of the final product. 

Before and after

Capture of the NWTC website prior to the redesign
Capture of the NWTC website after redesign


Internal stakeholder “sticky” exercise

Prior to writing the RFP to select a vendor to work on a new website we held an all-college listening session. Staff and faculty were walked through the reasoning behind the project and asked to share their insights on areas they felt users were getting “stuck” on the existing site by writing it on a sticky note. After the listening session we organized the sticky notes into themes and audiences and used them to gather insights into the areas our internal staff felt needed the most work. The following were top areas of concern:

  • On-site search was a major concern. Respondents felt the search results were often inaccurate or did not include content they expected to be there.
  • Information architecture: Respondents felt that it was difficult to find important content on the main navigation.
  • Content was mixed between audiences. Current student information was displayed alongside prospective student info and organized by the internal department, making the content more confusing.
  • Readability scores were extremely high, especially on vital program pages. Since those pages are geared toward an audience that does not yet have a college education, effort should be made to re-write them, so they are easily understood and scannable by the user.

User Interviews

Once personas were created for each of our major audiences, we performed user interviews with 5-8 members of each audience. Interviews were recorded and participants were provided an incentive for sharing their experiences. Questions centered around building a baseline for the current user experience, finding pain points, and identifying opportunities for improvement.

Information architecture flowchart

Information Architecture

While the web team had made significant efforts to cut redundant content over the year leading up to the redesign, there were still over 4,000 pages to organize within the site architecture. The internal stakeholder team took part in a content grouping exercise and built a site navigation flowchart from our discussions. From there, we used search data and earlier user interviews to identify the words our audiences were using to describe the content within those identified buckets.

Moderated Usability Study

The addition of what the Steering committee had dubbed “the Funnel” was new to our user. Once we had a working prototype of the design, I ran a usability study aimed at finding if the layout and language used was in line with the expectations of the user as well as whether they were initially drawn to the funnel, site navigation or site search. Results indicated that over 50% of participants that were new to the site preferred to use the funnel and were drawn to it without direction. Changes were made to the language to combine menus for adult returning students and traditional high school students.

Capture of the desktop home page
Google optimize

Google Optimize Experiments

In areas where there was ambiguity in site navigation language, we utilized A/B testing. Over the past year multiple tests have been performed to improve click-through rates to important student milestones, such as completing the FAFSA, reading the course lists for programs, and applying to the college.



Both mobile and desktop views were built in Figma and have grown into the beginnings of a design system. The Figma design file houses components that we are still improving upon during each release cycle.

Final product

View the NWTC web site
Figma prototype of the desktop website