UIC: Center for Urban Education Leadership
"The culture and climate of her office and staff makes me feel comfortable to ask even the dumbest question—they all patiently and courteously help me with whatever I need. Our site is vibrant and bold, which is what we needed. It telegraphs our mission and message in an authoritative, yet sensitive way. It provides us many ways to promote our work to suit our many audiences. We love it."
—Erika Hobbs, UIC Center for Urban Education Leadership
This was the second site we did for UIC's College of Education — the first one went so well, we were determined to really knock this one out of the park. The Center for Urban Education Leadership was a funded entity with no visual identity. Our job was to take in the leadership's vision—the Center's differentiation from other similar centers—and present the research in a fun, usable format.
We looked at similar institutions and concentrated on finding sites that housed a large amount of articles and information that were fun to use, kept us entertained, and made us want to stick around. We looked through loads of magazine and news sites and figured out a way to show the research—with or without photography—in a way that was categorizable and fun. This is a ground-breaking organization doing extremely important things, so their passion and authority had to come through, too.
During planning, we met several times to nail down the content and what exactly this Center did. More than anything, the work itself rose to the top, so we knew the regularly published content was definitely the king. We also wanted to feature the people and sponsors that made this Center possible.
This site is also responsive, which means that that content dynamically reorganizes itself depending on the width of the device accessing it. So it will look good on a desktop, iPad or phone wihtout having to create separate sites for each device. This requires a sizeable amount of planning. Responsive design forces us to really nail down what's important—a process that natually strips the unnecessary bits everyone wants to throw into a site. It also keeps the site organization fresh, easy to use, and relevant.
After we figured out what the main content sections were, we wireframed the whole site (a few times) to show how all of the pages would work together. We also designed a few rounds of logo concepts, ending with one terrific logo that told the story of education in an urban environment, with subtle references to the Center's home in Chicago.
We developed this site to use a multi-site framework so the Center staff could edit both the Conference site we previously created for them and the Center site without having to log in twice. That saves a ton of editing time.
This is still one of our all-time favorite websites. The launch was a piece of cake since we had such a long planning process. We truly worked together on this one.
From Our Client
I was a little wary of working with any new contractor because I'd just come out of a situation with a developer/designer that left me with a product of questionable quality. It certainly isn't user-friendly. But my initial meetings with LimeRed set me at ease instantly. Emily Lonigro responded quickly and thoroughly to all of my questions, even before we signed a contract. When we met to begin the project, I knew she was dedicated to learn about us, how we work and what we do—our mission is more important than anything else. She designed a product that met our needs and will help us grow as our new project grows. She offered advice and constructive criticism. She was patient when we didn't give her the feedback she needed. The culture and climate of her office and staff makes me feel comfortable to ask even the dumbest question—they all patiently and courteously help me with whatever I need. Our site is vibrant and bold, which is what we needed. It telegraphs our mission and message in an authoritative, yet sensitive way. It provides us many ways to promote our work to suit our many audiences. We love it.
I love the sites they design, and I am impressed by how clear and easy they are to use. I work with a computer-phobic staff, but they maneuver through the CMS like pros, thanks to LimeRed.
I was struck most that even after our contract was closed, LimeRed was thinking about ways to improve our site design in the event we are able to hire them again for more help. They care about us and about the product.