Case Studies

Cornell University Undergraduate Admissions, User Experience Design



Cornell University approached IE Design + Communications to redesign five of the University’s websites within an expedited time frame of six months in order to coincide with acceptance notices being sent in March to prospective students.
 Over the course of several years the Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Employment, Admitted Students & Graduate School websites had organically grown unfocused with complicated user experiences and outdated graphics. IE was challenged to redesign and develop the five websites to enable each to connect with its audiences, bolster the University’s online image and provide the University’s staff with an intuitive CMS requiring minimal technical assistance.


In order to meet the challenge of developing five new sites within the relatively short time frame of six months, IE quickly met with the University’s key stakeholders and conducted audience research. A comprehensive roadmap and content plan was created to coordinate the development of all of the sites in unison with expedited milestones.

A decade of user experience design and working with other higher education clients enabled IE to efficiently hone a unique design direction for the five sites, each of which balanced the prestigious legacy of Cornell University with an engaging experience that clearly spoke to each audience. Each site was built within the Drupal content management system (CMS) providing the University with one of the most powerful open-source systems available, offering enterprise level features, strong security and an intuitive administrative environment.


The new sites went live within the originally scheduled six-month timeframe and on budget. Audiences of each site now experience modern designs and succinctly organized and pertinent information.  Site administrators now have an easy to use and efficient content management system that will enable the sites to adapt and grow in a well-structured manner for years to come. This design work has garnered a lot of attention and praise. The work has been featured in UCDA‘s Designer magazine, featured by Communications Arts as Webpick of the Week, won the People’s Choice EduStyle Award and won a W3 Silver Award.

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