ISAC Student Portal

Visual Design

Challenge

Design Problem: Get more high school students in Illinois to use ISAC's online resources.

ISAC (Illinois Student Assistance Commision) is a government agency that provides online tools and information to help underserved high school students plan for college. When my partner and I started working on this project, ISAC already had a strong network of volunteers and events to show students their tools resources. The issue was that the Student Portal site (which houses their resources) was visually dated and had usability problems. Since it’s already hard enough to figure out how to get into and finance college, we wanted to make sure the site design didn't make it even harder. In a few short weeks, we set out to make ISAC’s resources more accessible, useful and fun.

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Process

With a short timeline and tight scope (I was only budgeted 50 hours!), we had to move quickly through research and content strategy. We did a heuristic evaluation and my partner worked with the client to determine how to best categorize content.

As the lead visual designer, I came up with a simple visual design language that could be easily applied across the site and followed by future designers. I wanted the design to feel approachable and fun. Since there was no budget for photography, I relied on bright, friendly colors and flat design to give the site personality. I drew on material elements for depth and animations, and illustrated custom icons to match the site's aesthetic. 

Outcome

The website won a 2016 Digital Government Achievement Award!

Since this was a short term freelance contract, I don’t have final measurements on the redesign performance. We hope to see an increase in overall site traffic, longer duration times spent on key pages like the college checklist, and an increase in new accounts created. Below are some of the designs.

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