Redesign of the CEM Web Portal
A better experience for users to obtain information from the web portal
This project deals with redesigning Clemson University's Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) program web portal to support the needs of faculty, students, and staff in the CEM specialization.
The redesign has been adopted by the school! Check the updated Clemson Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) website based on our redesign!
Lingyuan Li, Terri Barber, Akshay Kulkarni, Heather Watkins
Interaction design, UX research, visual design
At the discovery phase of the project, I designed interview guidelines based on the client's requirements and previously tested interview questionnaires. We conducted user interviews in order to get a better understanding of the problems the original CEM web portal faced.
8 in-depth semi-structured interviews (faculty member, prospective faculty, current students, prospective students, and staff)
Transformed interview data to need statements
We determined primary needs and secondary needs by adopting the affinity diagramming
After sorting out all the need statements, we established the relative importance of needs to find out key needs
Needs that get high rating scores are key needs.
Easy to access information; comprehensive information about the program; more engagement from students
Students (main), faculty (main), staff (main), technical support, parents, sponsors, prospective hiring recruiters, prospective employees
Assumptions and Constraints
Replacement of existing web portal
Based on the Clemson University server
Follows Clemson University guidelines
Provides quantifiable data on how a product performs. We converted the items on our needs list to metrics. We generated metrics of various types: objective (i.e., time, percentage), binary, and subjective.
Ensures that the web portal can compete with the current market. We took other universities’ CEM websites as our potential competitors instead of other departments’ websites. To focus on representative quality competitors, the selection criterion includes the university's ranking, reputation, and current web design.
Set Target Specifications
Provides a list of specifications the team wishes to meet. We determined the marginally acceptable value which is the minimum value of a metric required for the web portal to be feasible, and the ideal value which is the best possible value that we could hope to achieve for our metrics based on the collected information.
Extracting subjective metrics from the target specifications, we sent the subjective metrics survey to the stakeholders in order to gather unbiased metric ratings on the original web portal.
Concept Generation & Selection
The concepts are generated with the user needs and target specifications in mind by using the concept generation methodology (Ulrich and Eppinger, 2016).
decompose the problems by primary needs
search internally and externally to generate initial concepts
explore systematically to eliminate infeasible solutions and couple subproblems that could not stand alone to consider
Using the method outlined by Ulrich and Eppinger (2016) to complete iterative concept screenings.
select the reference: Purdue’s CEM web portal as it got high scores in the competitive benchmarking analysis.
choose the selection criteria to rate our concepts based on key needs: adequate information, usability, structure, navigation, and features.
rate concepts compared to the reference; rank concepts
combine and improve concepts; select one or more concepts
reflect on the results and process
Limits and exclusions: The concept design solution of the web portal needs to follow the design principle of the Clemson University department website. This is to ensure consistency in design and reflect Clemson's values and priorities.
Based on the final concept we selected, I created low-fidelity wireframes via Figma. I did a thorough examination of the wireframe by identifying a list of features incorporated into the system to align with the key primary needs that were found in Phase 1.
We reached out to our client and stakeholders again to get feedback and suggestions to improve the wireframe as well as some information needed for the content of the web portal.
Once I improved the wireframes based on stakeholders' feedback, I started designing the final screens in Figma.
The color theme - Clemson Orange (#F56600) and Regalia (#522D80) by following the principles of Clemson University’s department website design.
Usability Testing & Heuristic Evaluation
12 tasks. Task example: “You are a news reporter looking to write a feature on a CEM expert. Find the location that you can reach out to the program.”
Follow-up survey: subjective metrics survey again; SUS
Iteration 1: Corrected staff information; added more contact information
Iteration 2: Created research overview page; re-specified content of student page
Iteration 3: Improved student page; updated realistic up-to-date photos
Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics (Nielsen, 2005)