I helped increase readership by 50% by designing a new digital app for the Davidson College Board of Trustees. I did this by
developing a streamlined layout specific to Apple iPad users, using informative videos and infographics, and making the interactive elements in the UI more obvious.
Past issues of the Davidson College ITS Department annual reports were created as Powerpoint presentations and circulated amongst board trustees and staff as a non-interactive pdf file. Many users found this format to be underwhelming in design and function and therefore did not read it.
Making a digital app to enhance the user experience for board members
The ITS department’s target audience for the magazine app was board trustees aged 50 and over, folks who used iPads and iPhones on a daily basis. I learned that past annual report issues were non-interactive, had limited information, were not engaging, and not visually stimulating to the readers. The ITS department wanted to use a magazine app format to demonstrate its progressive growth in the digital information world of academia.
My role in the project
As the UI Designer, I collaborated with the Marketing Director and Director of Systems and Networks to iterate on new layout designs and content creation. We each had specific responsibilities; my job upfront was to organize and design a new layout that presented information in a pleasing manner, included videos and interaction elements, and was easy to use.
The mandate: Get the magazine app designed and ready for deployment with Apple Store in eight weeks.
My Davidson College contacts were feeling a great deal of pressure to provide an enhanced digital experience to their board of trustees; the mandate they gave me was that I needed to design a layout strictly for iPad users of a mature audience. I explained that while most of the users on their Board were iPad users that there were bound to be a few that were not and therefore we should create multiple platform versions of the app. I was outvoted and told the app only needed to be designed for iPad users because that is what the trustees used. I was not able to interview members myself and therefore had to rely solely on my client’s information.
My first couple of weeks were spent creating an outline and wireframe to be used as a guide as well as choosing interesting yet legible fonts, colors, and graphics.
I presented my design concepts and after changes and approvals, I moved forward with creating the layout in InDesign, creating infographics, and working with the ITS department in formatting videos to be embedded in the app. Once received, I added copy and started testing the app with selected users for proper flow and usability, making adjustments per their feedback.
Once the app was finalized and approved it was packaged for the Apple Store upload.
After Davidson College ITS launched the app and distributed it to the board they were informed that some of the members did not like having to install an app on their devices and wanted a .pdf file to download and review offline. I was then contracted to create another version of the app as an interactive pdf.