ICC Workforce Equity Initiative
Lead UX Designer
Lead UI Designer
The success of the WEI Website, with its focus on data and analytics of the success of the program allowed the program to receive $15M in additional funding
Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) coordinates the 48 public community colleges in Illinois. Through the Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) ICCB aims to develop the local workforce by providing WEI participants the skills and credentials necessary to earn a living wage. ICCB desired a way to create awareness of WEI and highlight its positive impact on the community so that they could present successes and data to the Illinois House of Representatives to demonstrate a successful use case in the hopes of acquiring ongoing funding by the state.
The success of this project was immensely high as its ongoing funding would impact more than 10,000 students in low-income zip codes over the next 10 years. We needed to design a website that was easy to navigate for members of the State Congress, provided proof of work to taxpayers to demonstrate efficient use of their money, and feature comprehensive and visual data to demonstrate the success of the program.
The research was difficult as nothing like this had been done before within our state and no current site existed for us to user test. We had to rely on our skill set and knowledge and our ability to discern a good user experience. We relied heavily on the WEI Board and the representatives from each college to provide insight into specific success cases.
The success of this project was immensely high as its ongoing funding would impact more than 10,000 students in low-income zip codes over the next 10 years. We needed to design a website that was easy to navigate for members of the State Congress and featured highly detailed and visual data to prove the success of the program.
The first step to figuring out what to do was to just write down every single piece of data that we had and figure out what was relevant and what wasn't. And with 48 colleges and thousands of students across dozens of areas of training, we had a whole lot of data. To narrow it down, we had to focus on who the site is for. This wasn't for data analysts to sift through. This was for very busy representatives in the State's Congress to quickly assess if this was working. There were tens of millions of dollars on the line. And, to a lesser degree, for constituents to be able to get information on a taxpayer-funded initiative. And that's how we got to the what of the content.
Now that we had the what we needed the how. There was a lot of information that had to be portrayed and we had to decide how best to display it so that it didn't overwhelm. Since there were no calls to action—this was purely an informative site—we needed the data to be the focal point. We started with sketching page layouts and whiteboarding to decide what would go where. Stripping unneeded sections or tucking secondary information away for people to read if they chose to.
Program Selection Brainstorm
User Flow Examples 1 of 3
With the Macro work completed the wireframes went together quickly because of the extensive research and planning phases of the project. We narrowed the information enough to make informed decisions about content placement and layout and wireframed it together to make micro-adjustments once we could visually represent the layout.
Using Adobe XD, we assembled the high-fidelity mockups using colors and fonts from the college's design system. We presented the final pages to the college for approval before handing everything off to the development team.
We developed a web application that displayed various metrics such as student enrollment and employment prospects after program completion. The web application also included an interactive widget to help students select a field of study or find a participating college, something that was a last-minute addition during the high-fidelity mockup phase of the project.Visit the Website
The final result was a very successful presentation of data to the State Legislature in a joint session of Congress. Through thoughtful research intelligent design decisions, the college secured an additional $15M in annual funding to continue the program and expand it to more colleges across the state. This will help thousands of disenfranchised people across Illinois get job training and placement assistance at no cost to them so that they can improve their lives and the communities they live in.