University of Sioux Falls

A from-scratch project puts a new face — and some new focus — on a university dedicated to faith.

What we did
  • Discovery and Strategy
  • Responsive and Mobile-First Design
  • Custom EZ Publish Integration
  • Full Content Migration
View the Site

A New Look — And A New Focus.

The University of Sioux Falls didn’t simply go forward with an upgrade and a refresh — they came into the project knowing that everything was going to change, from the content management system to the way the program model would be handled.

That’s where Blend came in. Initial discovery sessions identified key audiences, required content implementations, and the basic structure of a content model, while user experience work between Blend and USF helped shape the structure and look of the site, piece by piece.

Decisions weren’t always easy — especially when it came to the complicated task of organizing and presenting a multi-layered, interconnected program model — but by the end of the strategic phase, Blend and USF were ready to test it out on some unsuspecting students.

Wireframe Testing

As part of our quest to perfect layouts and navigation, we conducted two rounds of full wireframe testing, where we asked future students to make their way through our mockups and help us determine the right path — and any missing gaps — before we got into the design process.

The process was down and dirty, and we liked it that way. We pulled in some monitors and set up shop during USF’s new student orientation week, asking questions about why they chose USF and, more importantly, what they expected out of their web experience.

This kind of wireframe testing gave us more than just a quick way into the hearts of some future students: it gave us peace of mind that our decisions were sound — and, when they weren’t, it gave us plenty of time to adjust them before we dove into design.

A Little Here, A Little There

Design and development for the new USF site was a testament to teamwork. Adapting wireframes into live design was punctuated by periods of overall branding improvement, as both the brand itself and the site moved forward in parallel  to create a unified color scheme and branding, the site serving as a great opportunity to refresh other aspects of USF’s image.

Likewise, site development depended on a mixture of eZ Systems integrations and existing API calls in order to combine university databases and existing sources with the new content model. This means we were able to keep the same course listings while structuring the departments to fit the new site.

Above everything, design and integration followed the same principles as the initial site strategy: blur the lines between what belongs to one group and what belongs to the other, and push forward with a unified message and identity: the University of Sioux Falls.

Migration spreadsheets are at times complicated, at times messy, but they're the best tool for ensuring that, at the end of the day, a 100% migrated goes off without a hitch according to specifications.

Finally, when it came to migration, the two sides met in the middle again going through the 500+ pages and splitting up migration duties in order to get the site up to date and ready to launch. Content was spread out over several months, saving us both from the panic of launch week and the frustrations of department approval. All in all, the site went live with a full complement of pages — both new and existing — with redirects and search parameters working as expected.