Architecture and UX

BackGround and Objective

Historically the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts (CFPCA) at Wayne State University (WSU) has been one site, specific to the college, and four separate sites for each of the departments within the college. This has caused duplicate information over the departments and a separation between the college and departments.

  1. Show the relationship of the college to departments and vice versa
  2. Bring the commonalities between the departments up to the global navigation, calling out any special areas of uniqueness
  3. Emphasize how to make an appointment with an advisor


After discussing the priorities, key audiences, differentiators, and researching competitor sites with the units I began to list out the former navigation of the CFPCA, Art and Art History, Communication, Music, and Theatre and Dance sites looking for areas of overlap within the college and four departments.

In the spreadsheet the top row lists the names of the college/department websites and column A listed the parent name of the page. The website columns then listed out child pages under the specific parent page. I color coded the overlapping child pages that were present within multiple sites. From this process I was able to visualize the common areas of overlap that could be brought up the the global navigation:

  1. Admissions
  2. Scholarships
  3. Advisors
  4. Alumni

I replaced “Academics” in the navigation with “Departments” as that specific word helped tie together the relationship of the college to the departments. I placed the COVID-19 page within the footer as it was two years old at this point and replaced it with “Admissions”. Formerly admissions info was on the individual departmental websites. Admissions is the number one goal of a marketing college site so it was bumped up to the first item in navigation.

Former CFPCA navigation
Current CFPCA navigation

I also took “Scholarships” which was previously found within the “Student” area of the department sites and placed it under the admissions area. Students that were interested in applying to the college could now view the different funding opportunities available to them from WSU, CFPCA and specific departments all in one area. Under menu buttons were also placed on high traffic pages to emphasize how to get into the advising system to make an appointment.

To further hit home the focus on admissions, an apply button was added to the homepage as well as a button that links to the advising page.

Current CFPCA homepage
Former CFPCA homepage

Next Steps

We are in the process of finalizing the redesign mock up to start development on the first department subsite Art and Art History to launch.

When I was rethinking the specific architecture for the subsite, I began with a few journey maps of how different users, jumpers and browsers, might move through the site. A jumper might know exactly what they are looking for and google a word or specific concentration and land right on the page they are looking for. Or they land on the homepage and will see the three areas of study, pick one of them and then choose between a concentration or a degree. In a similar fashion a browser might have the same experience as going to the homepage, clicking on an area of study, finding a concentration they like and then a degree that is associated with it.

A browser could also have a different journey of looking at the programs, selecting the undergrad area, realize that they are interested in getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors, decide that fibers in what they are interested in studying, and then start the admissions process.

When reviewing the architecture I made sure there were multiple paths to get to the same information depending on the type of user as well as if they knew what they were looking for or were exploring their options.