Usability and design innovation for one of the top legal education institutions in the country
Northwestern Law School was looking to improve their online presence to increase its effectiveness as a tool for connecting with their current students, prospective students and alumni by enhancing their information architecture, and bringing their overall online presence to a level that represents their world renowned reputation.
With a knowledgeable existing in-house development team, Clique Studios partnered with the team to lead an engagement that gained an understanding of how to attract individuals seeking a successful career in law, and positioned their organization as a path towards success through design and UX strategy for their online presence.
Going to school on school
Innovation risks confusion. Our belief is that effective design is not about looking nice, it’s about understanding the needs of your target audience and balancing their expectations of the experience with opportunities to demonstrate what makes you different from the competition. To do that, we went to Law School School:
- Audience Interviews: By engaging in several interviews with members from different target audiences, we helped identify not only how they leveraged the site, but what made Northwestern’s experience desirable to them. This allowed our team to understand what to focus on for the UX and features of the site.
- Identify Conventions: To mitigate, our team executed a comprehensive analysis of the conversion paths, layouts, nomenclature and calls to action across a large representation of Law School websites. This helped identify where there were gaps to do things differently while not going so different that the experience becomes confusing.
Enterprise and innovation, together at last
It is widely assumed that modern design and development techniques can only be achieved by building from scratch with the latest CMS. By establishing restrictions up front and then challenging them, our design team was able to freely execute the vision for the overall usability and brand of the site that pushed the framework without breaking it. From there, the Clique and Northwestern development teams worked together to integrate modern front-end coding techniques with the established proprietary CMS.
- Responsive Design
- Commented Code
- Latest front-end development tools and practices, including:
- Node.js & Grunt.js for task management and task automation
- UI Kit: To ensure future pages and features match the new site, we delivered a UI kit for the Northwestern team to use when creating new content.
Our engagement didn’t stop with delivery. We wanted to ensure that the Northwestern team would be well equipped to support the site and execute ongoing changes and innovations with minimal dependencies. We held facilitated training sessions prior, during, and after the integration with the existing enterprise framework.
- Code Review sessions
- Code Markup
Final Exam, A+
The team at Northwestern initially impressed us with their knowledge and willingness to push boundaries with the design and functionality of the site, but what really impressed us was their ability to flawlessly integrate our delivered code with their existing CMS. Tactfully executing a phased roll out, the team hit every deadline in launching the new experience to the public.