Minneapolis Technical & Community College
Translating the MCTC experience.
Minneapolis Technical & Community College (MCTC) offers students at every stage in life the opportunity to expand their education in a way that works for them, at a convenient and culturally diverse downtown Minneapolis campus.
Online, however, the MCTC brand was inconsistent and its site had become a confusing maze of information without direction for the organization or its site visitors. As with many education institutions, each school department was publishing web content and making independent decisions without a clear overarching strategy, leading to even greater confusion. With our colleagues at Pilcrow Partners, Azul 7 was brought on to help refine MCTC’s brand strategy, positioning and the corresponding image system, to help align the organization and redesign the website.
The Minneapolis context.
Our primary goal was to position MCTC in a way that more clearly reflected its cultural experience, emphasizing its Minneapolis context. Because MCTC’s location so directly relates to the school’s personality and accessibility, it was important to communicate a sense of place to prospective students visiting the site. We shifted the school toward more location-focused messaging and an image system based on photos of real students on campus. With a refined brand presence, the school and its stakeholders could better align their understanding of the brand and provide more consistent interactions with students, prospective students and staff.
A path for every user.
One of MCTC’s biggest strengths is its flexibility for students of all kinds, whether new high school graduates or adults working full-time and taking evening classes–a strength that also leads to website confusion. To start the design process, we needed to understand the needs of each of these groups before we could create paths to accommodate them. After defining user personas and guiding them through various site scenarios, Pilcrow Partners created a UX strategy to accommodate them.
To execute the strategy as simply as possible for MCTC administrators, we developed a supporting component-based architecture. This flexible template style allows stakeholders to easily manage individual content modules without disrupting the architecture or design.
An iterative process.
Keeping people–prospective students, students, faculty–at the core of the design process is especially important with education sites. We led MCTC through an iterative process with several groups of students, prospective students and staff. We tested UI and UX simultaneously, making rapid changes based on feedback and retesting, continuing the cycle until the site was complete.
From concept to reality.
Our colleagues at Pilcrow Partners assessed MCTC’s technology options and made recommendations on CMS options. When it came time for implementation, our designs and content were passed to the development team for integration in both the selected CMS and MCTC intranet.
A refined brand and user experience.
Contact us to talk more about how human-centered design can help your brand.