It’s 1997 and the IT depart­ment of the Univer­si­ty of Applied Scien­ces Potsdam publis­hes its first website. Over the following years, the Univer­si­ty grows and flouris­hes with more students and courses. This is accom­pa­nied by more content, more contri­bu­ti­ons, more people and a chaotic system of hundreds of sub-pages. Appli­cants, profes­sors, students, resear­chers – everyo­ne wants to be unders­tood. In the process, the big pictu­re is lost from sight. 22 years later, 14 students in a UX seminar set out to bring order to the chaos. A website redesign.

The analy­sis of the existing website and the target groups took place together. After that, the groups separa­ted and produ­ced four diffe­rent concept and design drafts with the help of the insights we had gathe­red together. During that time we still worked together as a group and gave each other regular feedback.

Analy­sis & target groups

One of the first steps in the analy­sis was to break down the current infor­ma­ti­on struc­tu­re of the main naviga­ti­on. In order to have a compa­ri­son to other insti­tu­tes, a compe­ti­tor analy­sis was also made and the websites of other univer­si­ties were analy­sed. At the same time, a large number of exami­nees on campus were asked about their experi­ence with the univer­si­ty website during their quali­fy­ing exami­na­ti­on at the Depart­ment of Design.

Two target groups were defined: inter­nal and exter­nal visitors. Inter­nal visitors are univer­si­ty members who know their way around and know what they are looking for. Exter­nal visitors, on the other hand, want to get an impres­si­on of the univer­si­ty; they are not helped by a quick search, becau­se they do not know what they are looking for.

Infor­ma­ti­on architecture

The current FH website attempts to divide the content into six main categories/actions: Infor­ma­ti­on, studies, teaching, training, research and coope­ra­ti­on. These catego­ries are further divided into up to four sub-levels. Things get even trickier if the desired content cannot be clear­ly assigned to a catego­ry, if pages are found in several catego­ries or if the same content appears in several pages.

First, we reorga­nis­ed all the top pages. Then we defined four new main catego­ries: studies, research, teaching and univer­si­tyAll pages can be found under these catego­ries; there are no further levels. Instead, they are only grouped, which helps to avoid a confu­sing and deep struc­tu­re. With one click on the main catego­ry, visitors can see all sub-pages at once.

Data types & filters

We defined ten data types: News, events, people, projects, downloads, jobs and internships, study program­mes, courses, workshops & labs and rooms. Each data type has its own overview page. When users call up these overviews, they see all the existing data. The data display­ed can then be reduced or sorted using filters.

Style guide

When choosing the colours, we aimed to stay close to the corpo­ra­te design of the UAS Potsdam. In order to create a better colour harmo­ny with the images used on the website, we used the surroun­ding colours of the main building as colour inspi­ra­ti­on. This inclu­des blue and blue-green tones caused by the reflec­tions in the glass of the buildings. For the typeface, we used the official font of the Univer­si­ty: FHP Sun by LucasFonts.