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Public website redesign

SAIT is Alberta’s third-largest post-secondary institution, educating approximately 50,000 students per year globally with an emphasis on applied education and research.

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Our engagement with SAIT was built around a series of on-site working sessions every 4-6 weeks that set the pace for each sprint and helped keep our teams and stakeholders aligned.

Interviews and focus groups were conducted during an intensive 4-day research sprint, followed by a strategy and design workshop and two additional onsite visits for prototype reviews and usability tests.

Our role

1. Research
  • Interviews and group sessions with 21 stakeholders
  • 5 focus group sessions with 33 participants
  • Review of existing research, current site and benchmarks
  • Benchmark usability testing
  • Analytics review
  • Web property audit
2. Strategy and planning
  • UX recommendations based on research
  • Sprint planning
3. Design
  • Information architecture
  • Collaborative sketching and low fidelity wireframes
  • Wireframes and interface comps for 25 page templates
4. Validation
  • Tree testing
  • Prototype development
  • Prototype usability testing
5. Development
  • Hand-off of prototypes to CMS vendor for development

Project management

In addition to on-site working sessions weekly check-in meetings were used for ongoing coordination and status updates.

Project timeline

9 months

Team’s project team consisted of project management, UX research and strategy, design, and front-end development.

Sketch of interface wireframe Sketch of interface wireframe Sketch of interface wireframe Sketch of interface wireframe Sketch of interface wireframe


One of the project’s key activities was a 2.5-day strategy and design workshop, which we used to close out the research phase and kick off the design and prototyping phase. Three team members flew to Calgary to facilitate the delivery and discussion of UX recommendations the afternoon of Day 1, followed by a day of low-fidelity wireframing (including collaborative sketching with the SAIT team) and decision-making on the morning of Day 3.

Usability testing

In addition to the strategy and design workshop, onsite sessions were scheduled between sprints 1-2 and 2-3. We used these visits to conduct guerrilla usability tests with students, share results and progress with the SAIT team, and make any decisions around next steps — including setting expectations for the incorporation of feedback and priorities for the next sprint.

Usability Testing

Discovering interests

Based on focus group input, recommended creating new content to help prospective students identify with an area of interest and get a sense of the student experience before selecting a specific program. During prototype usability testing we observed that people were delighted to discover and interact with the user flow as it was designed, without any prompting from a test moderator.

How to apply

Many research participants said they felt overwhelmed by the experience of selecting a program and applying for school. There’s a lot of information to remember and keep track of, much of which doesn’t apply to everyone. To help streamline the application process recommended and designed an interactive tool that filtered relevant links into a customized, step-by-step checklist.

Screenshot of How to Apply

Multi-audience brand storytelling

SAIT has a compelling, multi-faceted brand story: 100 years of history, a leader in applied education and research, and a global corporate training presence to name a few highlights. We needed to incorporate different elements of that story while keeping the primary focus of the site on recruitment and student experience. Based on interviews with 21 stakeholders, our work reflected these priorities in a way that complemented the overarching goal of recruitment, with minimal disruption to the project or user experience.

Large, successful web projects require a mix of both planning and agility, supported by strong relationships. Intensive onsite working sessions were productive because participants were prepared and engaged. Our lean approach prioritized project outcomes and client experience to ensure we met the needs of users and stakeholders alike.

Ready to work together?

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