UX/UI Design - Wordpress Development

Uniting Distant Stars

I had a great opportunity to utilize my UI/UX design, Wordpress, and coding skills in redesigning Uniting Distant Stars as I graduated from MCTC in 2016 and receiving an AAS degree in Web/UX Design.
My Work Included...
Web Design/Development

UX/UI Design

Wordpress Theme Customization
Uniting Distant Stars
Project Timeline
June 2016 to Present

I met Heather Cannon (one of UDS's CEOs and Co-founders)in late May 2016, soon after I graduated from MCTC.

She wanted someone to help her redesign her non-profit’s website, Uniting Distant Stars for a more engaging and responsive experience.

Some design problems included a dated layout, static navigation and widgets, and the site itself was not responsive or designed for desktop use only. Here's what the old Uniting Distant Stars Blogspot site looked like:
UDS Homepage with Notes
UDS Projects Page with Notes

I made some initial notes and sketches at the beginning stages of the project in June 2016:

UDS ideas with notes

- Using Google Analytics, Heather and I discovered that most of the visitors to UDS came from the US, so we proceeded to redesign the site to be responsive so that visitors can easily get info and enjoy media on various devices

- Heather was aiming that the redesign would allow her to also post her latest blogs to the homepage, gaining more traction to the latest news and events

- Heather was inspired by other nonprofit websites such as True Sanctuary and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum

- Kinds of feelings and responses we wanted to the new UDS site we wanted to impart users included: Fun, Inspirational, Sharing Positivity, Finding news affecting Youth, Gratitude, and “Be (young people’s) Shining Self!”

After Heather and I met, I got to work making a few sketches of what I thought a new UDS subject page would look like, as well as the main blog page.

My sketches were inspired by existing blog themes and include some common UI elements (grid galleries, headlines with text, sidebar archive, etc).

It was from these sketches that Heather wanted me to find a similar Wordpress theme to help bring the sketches to life!

Using the notes and sketches I made above, I got to work in chosing a WordPress theme, as well as plugins, for UDS that would...

- Be Responsive (be viewed beautifully on all devices)

- Post Heather’s blog posts onto the front page for optimal readership

- Have page layouts and widgets that highlight UDS’s news, photos, media and new user engagement/social media campaigns

- Highlight a visual style that reflects the vibrant blue and yellow of the UDS school colors. I made it a priority to keep the text readable and contrast high

- Put Newsletter Signup and Donate buttons higher up front and center ensuring greater user engagement and support for the UDS mission

The new UDS site has preceded extraordinary growth in visitor traffic, engagement and contributions from volunteers and donations!

"Thank you for all your (continued) hard work!"    

- Heather Cannon and other UDS Board Members