Norfolk State University

Case Study

Norfolk State University

Norfolk State is an HBCU with deep roots in the local community and a proudly supportive alumni base. It has strengths in technology, sciences, nursing, business, and liberal arts but an academic reputation that lags behind actual performance. As one stakeholder characterized the institution, “We often fail to tell about the good work we are doing”

Its web site at the time was a conglomeration of over 200 web properties with siloed content and a decentralized editing/authoring system that lacked cohesive governance. My charge was to bring the site under a single content management system, align it with recent branding efforts by agency Fuseideas, and tell the NSU story.

The multi-faceted audience extended well beyond the complexity typical of high-ed sites and included active duty military from nearby Naval Station Norfolk, first generation college students, and – as it turns out – the cabbie who picked me up at the airport (and whose remarks found their way into my findings presentation).

My final recommendations formed the foundation for a new, responsive web site:

  • Create site that primarily targets prospective students and their parents with content that answers their questions
  • Provide appropriate content for other audience groups and channel them thoughtfully
  • Reflect the new branding initiative developed by Fuseideas
  • Tell the NSU story authentically and in the context of its rich history and place in the community
  • Break the silos and make content easy to find
  • Build on modern CMS for ease of content development and maintenance
  • Create and implement a governance plan

Tasks & Deliverables

  • Week of on-campus discovery workshops with stakeholders and student groups
  • Heuristic review of NSU and related sites (Landscape Analysis)
  • Personas & user journeys
  • Discovery findings with stakeholder presentation
  • Site Map
  • Wireframes
  • Functional Annotations / Development Specs

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Work Samples