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A Fresh Look for a Minnesota Institution

Updating the design for Minnesota State University Mankato in a way that didn’t remake the entire website.


  • Minnesota State University Mankato

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Piggybacking off of some deep-level site mapping and user discovery research, Blend began working with Minnesota State University Mankato to bridge the gap between design and development.

What this meant was taking the Episerver (now Optimizely)-focused content model and designing a university experience that mirrored both the university’s history and future. Design was sketched as a set of iterative wireframes, which combined both existing layouts and updated user interfaces. This included a recommendation for adjusting of overall navigation paths — via that updated site map and top-level navigation.

A screenshot of the new design for MNSU's home page on desktop and mobile.
A new home page design focused on highlighting the university and being extra user-focused on mobile devices.
A screenshot of the new design for MNSU's audience navigation on mobile.
Audiences are front and center with MNSU’s audience navigation menu.

With a storied university like MSU Mankato, there’s a lot of history — a lot of background, and a log of recognition, too. Our goal with this design project was to keep Mankato’s history alive — showing common elements like logos and colors and the campus itself in a way that stayed familiar — while also bringing the site into the future.

This was done through some seriously clean design. There’s nothing more difficult than making something look simple, so we’re pretty proud of how MSU Mankato’s design turned out: fresh and clean, with a healthy heaping of traditional Mankato colors. User interface design was heavy on clean form design, as you can see in our examples within the undergraduate degree page.

A screenshot of the new design for MNSU's degree listing page on desktop and mobile.
The challenge in designing a form is to design it in a way that stays usable on mobile devices.

Finally, site design morphed into front-end development, which was all done to help assist the MSU Mankato team as they took on Episerver development within their own web department. From strategy to strategic development consultation, Blend worked throughout to bring the university up to speed and move forward on their own.

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