Project: Responsive website
Approach: User research | site map | user journeys | wireframes | usability testing
Challenge: Create a brand identity for the University of Indianapolis Dining Services and reduce the number of phone calls from customers requesting information.
Solution: Created a responsive website with focus on the UX of the University of Indianapolis Dining Service’s website.
The University of Indianapolis is one of Indiana’s highest ranked colleges. A large chunk of the Dining Services staff’s time involved answering calls and emails from customers wanting information on a variety of topics relating to the cafeteria. The University asked that I create a website based on other university dining services website. Below are the four main objectives for creating the website.
Create a website that competes with top competitors
Create content and graphics that are appealing and easily accessible
Reduce the number of phone calls from customers requesting information that can be found online
Created an online identity for the Dining Services that resonates with the University
My research goals included:
What top Universities have user friendly websites
What main topics are students searching for when visiting their Dining Service’s website
What are the top questions that people have when contacting the Dining Services department
Part of my research included other local University Dining Services websites. I eventually stumbled upon Compass Group, the nation’s top food service management company in higher education. They have a platform called Dine On Campus that has all of their University’s Dining Services websites.
The top features each competitor’s site posses are listed below:
After conducting research on other competitors, I wanted to determine what would set my prototype apart from others. Because I’m not a developer and only have experience working with Squarespace’s interface, I knew I couldn’t make the website as interactive as some of the other sites out there.
A few standard high impact and expected features included viewing menus and meal plans, learning about the catering program, etc.
The two features that I believed would be considered high impact and unexpected included:
The ability for users to process their catering order online
View upcoming events
Some unexpected and low impact features included:
Downloading monthly newsletters
Learning about local items found in the Dining Hall
Open Card Sorting
After creating cards with items I knew were high impact and expected, I asked three college students to sort the cards they believed to be similar into separate categories.
I was able to use the findings from the open card sorting as a way to create the navigation for the sitemap.
Design & Usability Testing
I tested my low-fidelity wireframes on three college students. I would ask them which page they thought a certain item would be in and test what page they navigated to.
The school’s Dining Services hosts many events and has always done so in the past. The client requested two areas on the site for students to learn of upcoming events in the cafeteria.
I decided to include a quick click on the home page under the banner and include a dropdown menu within the More tab.
Testing & Building the Site
The site took three months to build. All usability testing was through Squarespace’s Preview mode. The Preview Mode allows the website builder to send a link to users, where they can review the site as it is being built.
I had eight review sessions with the Dining Service’s team before presenting the final design to the client and launching the site to go live. During these sessions, we discussed visual specs, content, and the overall user experience.