Meet NYU

Meet NYU is a blog intended for current and prospective undergrad students at New York University. Meet NYU came to Athletics looking for a redesign and refresh of the key pages on the site: the homepage, supporting landing pages, and article pages. The updated styles and approach would be applied site wide and bring new life to the experience for this key demographic.

UX Design
UI Design
User Research

My Role

My role was Senior UX/UI Designer on this project. I worked on a small team with Ku Adofo-Mensah, our Associate Director of Experience Strategy, on the UX and research side of the work. I also worked with Allison Connell, a Design Director, and John Keough, a Designer on the design side of the project.

Reviewing the work done to date

When I joined the project, our strategy team had already conducted a current site assessment, a competitive analysis, user interviews, and stakeholder interviews. Their findings concluded that for this audience: visuals are more impactful than text, content produced by authentic student voices was important to appear legitimate, and that content should be skimmable and easy to digest. These findings helped inform our approach to the project moving forward.

Conducting a focus group with current NYU students

Ku and I created a research plan in order to understand what is important to students as they evaluate their higher education options, what kinds of digital content experiences they are currently engaging with, and what ways of exploring content resonate with the group.

We walked them through the current site experience and facilitated discussion to uncover what was working and not working throughout the site. We also asked them more broadly what sites and experiences they really enjoyed and why they liked them.

Developing strategic UX recommendations

From the focus group, we learned that students found Meet NYU’s audience and voice murky at times, students craved a more modern look and feel to the site, and students expect intuitive browsing and content discovery capabilities on a content rich site. 

Based on these findings and the strategy work done to date, we distilled some strategic UX recommendations. We recommended that the site should provide many ways of discovering and accessing content (through curated collections as well as filtering) to encourage users to explore content in the way that suits them best. We also knew that the visual design needed a refresh and proposed that the website take on a modern and stylized experience, utilizing interaction patterns that students are familiar with which we knew would go a long way with this digitally native demographic.

Exploring how to evolve the brand through visual concepting

I worked with another designer, John Keough, to simultaneously explore some visual concepts to see where we could evolve the brand and create a modern and elegant digital experience. We each came up with a design direction to explore with guidance and feedback from our design director, Allison Connell.

Below is a roundup of the direction I produced. Some distinguishing qualities for this direction include its closeness to the current NYU branding, its simplified editorial look, and its focus on image and video.

Creating visual designs

The client wanted us to move forward with and expand on direction 1, which was the direction I worked on. From here we continued to flesh out the visual elements, interactions, and overall design system. The following are the final visual design screens for the main pages of the site.

Incorporating a TL:DR section for article content

Based on all of the research to date, we knew that students wanted to get a good idea of what would be covered in the article before committing to read it. We incorporated a TL:DR section so that the authors could summarize some key takeaways in the article.

Distinguishing between NYU Admissions staff and student authors within article content

One of the things we heard in our focus group was that it was important for current and prospective students to know from what perspective content is written. We created a way to show whether the author of an article was from the NYU Admissions team or from a student. For students, we also showcased a short bio about them including what NYU school they were attending and their anticipated graduation year.

Adding thoughtful interactions throughout the experience

We added some thoughtful interactions that add a level of polish to the experience. We also wanted them to be fun and offer some user feedback as well. Below is a static example of the featured content module on the homepage.

Making it easy to upload photos and videos from smartphones

We knew that NYU Admissions staff and student authors often would take photos on their mobile devices for the articles they write. We also knew that many students were consuming and creating video content for TikTok and Instagram Reels. We designed the experience with this in mind and made it easy for smartphone photos and videos to be incorporated.

Documenting all the parts and pieces for development

Our development team preferred Notion to document all of the modules and pages on the site. John and I worked together to make sure the developers knew the functionality of each module, what pages each module appeared on, and the different variations of each module.

During the development process, the developers had some questions, which John and I answered as they came, mostly through comments in Notion.

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