Case Study—DRAFT WIP

Carnegie Mellon University  
Computing Services

Website and Marketing Materials Refresh

Refresh a global university's web experience

As part of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Computing Services supports the entire campus community with IT and Web services.

I was tasked with leading the Computing Service's website refresh for faculty, staff, students, and the broader campus community. Along with their website refresh, their marketing materials also needed to reflect newer branding as well as updated service offerings.

The Carnegie Mellon Computing Services "At a Glance" project (aka the website refresh project) showcases division details from year-to-year for prospective customers and the broader campus community through web and printed materials.

A modern Computing Services presence

  • 🎯

    Set up the campus community for success
    Provide the new Vice President of Operations an easily-digestible overview about the type of work Computing Services brought to Carnegie Mellon.

  • 🧩

    Refresh the digital experience
    Update and modernize the staff, faculty, and student landing pages.

  • 📚

    Education for all
    Provide accessible self-help resources and training for staff, students, and faculty that reduces help center tickets

Designing for many people and personas

While there was a self-imposed challenge to create a unified experience, the main problem is always a lack of time. I needed to collaborate with C-Suite executives on confidential data to include, as well as provide options for layout and copy, all before printing. These were the main challenges:

  • ⏱️

    Fast turnaround for a multimedia project
    The due date for the project was quickly approaching and was expedited to share with a new Vice President of Operations.

  • 🖨️

    Large quantity, custom printing
    The printed materials were the most challenging since I needed to gather information, create the materials, and have a large volume printed, cut, and bound by hand.

  • 🤝

    Many collaborators and tools
    Since this project involved many service owners, program owners, project managers, and many more collaborators, there were delays to get the necessary approvals and information to move forward.

Engaging campus staff, students, and community

I worked across content management systems, design tools (mostly Adobe Creative Suite), partnered with a printing company, and gathered information to create both online and print materials that are for informational and marketing purposes.

Identify goals

What goes into a website refresh and what else is impacted? This is the question we asked ourselves so we can understand how to define and measure our success.

Service Owners, Program Managers, Site Administrators, and a cohort of other relevant individuals came together to establish goals, create a plan, and collaborate on tasks.

Computing Services redesigned frontpage

Research and plan

Creating mockups, card sorting for taxonomy, campus community interviews, reviewing metrics for page performance, and quality assurance testing.

Computing Services redesigned frontpage


More often than not, there's a lot of existing assets and information that can be updated and reused instead of requiring a complete overhaul.

Computing Services redesigned frontpage

Update assets

content management
self-help resource site,
and an internal Sharepoint repository.

I updated content and page templates to be more modern with web trends at the time, but still approachable for the campus community to quickly peruse.

Computing Services redesigned frontpage

Create assets

a Getting Started experience for students,
and an internal Sharepoint repository.

I collaborated with a student intern to create Getting Started videos for incoming students, along with image assets for a student portal.

ticketing info

lease it service

Computing Services redesigned frontpage



Computing Services redesigned frontpage

Solicit feedback


Computing Services redesigned frontpage


I also needed to collaborate to train the appropriate individuals on how to use and maintain new templates, styles, advertising materials, and other university-branded assets.

Computing Services redesigned frontpage



Computing Services redesigned frontpage

A better digital experience for everyone

We met all of our goals! The new VP of Operations was impressed about the breadth and quality of services we offer. Since this was the first pass at creating informational assets for department services, we also created a template and set a standard for future service marketing materials.

Learnings and questions

The learnings I have are mostly around how to more efficiently use the Adobe Creative Suite. These are a few questions that I want to consider for the next time I manage a project like this:

What could we achieve with a standardized CMS across the university?
With more time, what might the marketing materials look like instead?
If partnering with a design team or external agency, what might have happened differently?
What ways could we have provided self-service support?