student at computer

Web Redesign | User Experience

The web redesign project is underway, and we are now in the next phase of the project: User Experience. Our vendor, Digital Pulp, took your feedback from Research and Discovery and used that to begin work on the initial sitemap and wireframes for our future site.

The goal of the sitemap and wireframes step is to capture USF’s unique value to students, alumni, and the community in a structural way. The site map and wireframes will guide the way users find information and navigate the site and will ultimately contribute to its design and functionality.

Here are tentative dates for the site map and wireframe project phase:

  • Site Map & Foundational Wireframes phase: 06/07/21 – 07/08/21
  • Site Map & Wireframes feedback Round 1: 06/21/21- 06/25/21
  • Site Map & Wireframes feedback Round 2: 07/01/21- 07/02/21
  • Preliminary Approval: 07/08/21
  • Wireframes Round 1 & Feedback: 07/09/21-07/22/21
  • School Sitemap and Wires Round 1 & Feedback: 08/05/21-08/18/21

As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions about this or other phases of the project.

Read More


Web Redesign | Meet Tom Henke

Fun Facts:

  • Started at USF in 1990
  • I’ve worked on every iteration of the USF website since the launch of the internet
  • This is my third time as one of the principal members of the redesign team
  • California all the way, I was born and raised in Fresno, went to UCLA and lived in LA for six years before moving to SF and getting hired at USF
  • I play guitar and have been in several bands since my teen years
  • Kind of a music obsessive — lifelong record collector, constantly reading about music history, critical studies, and I watch a lot of music biographies
  • Married my college sweetheart and have two children, one in college now and one finishing high school
What is your role at USF?
Director of Web Communications. I oversee all things front end, content, and design, for myUSF and I am the design lead for both websites and manage the producers in WDC. Much of my role is creative problem solving and designing new structures for more effective communications on the website. I also oversee digital signage strategy, am a part of the mobile app team, and frequently do UX work on third party software for integration with USF systems.
What’s something the USF community may not know about web services?
We want to hear from you. We want the community to reach out to us when sites feel stale or out of date so we can improve the web experience. The websites are not static entities and are built to evolve. But web services needs a partner to be successful. Campus stakeholders know the content of their areas and they hear directly from their audience and prospective students, so creating that partnership with offices and programs is a vital part of our work.
What excites you most about the redesign project?
The opportunity to incorporate more modern features into the site. The last redesign process took place six years ago and web tastes and standards have changed a great deal in that time. The process of the redesign is also a great opportunity to look at the site as a whole and rework the structure of it in ways that make content more discoverable and easy to use.
What do you hope comes out of the redesign project?
I hope and expect that we will end up with a site that feels uniquely USF. Something that feels modern, easy to use, and reflects the community, mission and values of this special place.
Anything else you want to share?

I live in Oakland, but still am a fan of all the SF sports franchises. This causes some grief with my friends in the East Bay. A’s fans are a proud bunch!

Read More

woman looking at her computer

Web Redesign | Summer Meetings

Summertime is the perfect time to review the content on your site. Over the next few weeks, Web Services will be reaching out to schools and departments across the university to refresh and update content. We’ll also work with you to identify the best point of contact for your team during the redesign process. Here is a general idea of what to expect from summer meetings:

We Want to Hear Your Thoughts:

During summer meetings, you’ll be able to share your hopes and thoughts for the next website redesign – and your site. You’ll work with us to identify any new program features that you think would help clarify and communicate information about your program. We’ll also work with you to update any outdated content now so that it’s ready to go by launch time. Help us identify career paths/outcomes as well as student, alumni, and faculty stories within your program.

Start Thinking about Imagery and Multimedia:

We’ll have fresh images and video for the new website. During our meeting with you, share your ideas for images and/or multimedia that would be helpful to use on your program website.

Help Spread the Word & Gather Feedback:

Share redesign news with other members of your team and gather their feedback. Following our summer meeting, we will reach out to you throughout the academic year to make additional updates and to answer any questions. Closer to launch, we’ll also work with you to review and approve your new program website design.

Bring Your Questions:

Jot down your questions. We’re happy to clarify or answer any questions you have about the redesign process. We look forward to working with you!

Read More

people in a classroom

Web Redesign | What Can I Start Doing Now?

You don’t have to wait until the new site launches to start updating your content. In fact, the best time to optimize your program website is right now. Here are four ways to get started:

Contact Web Services:

We can help you with changes large and small, from quick updates, like photos or deadline changes, to bigger overhauls like navigation updates or new pages. Anytime you have a question or want to meet with someone to discuss your site, you can submit a request through our form or send an email to and someone on the team will get back to you within 24-48 hours. Check out our webpage samples and content recommendations as well as our writing guide for ideas.

Share Your Student/Alumni Stories:

Do you know a student or alum changing the world from here? If so, we’d love to share it on the website. Pitch your story to OMC or submit quotes/testimonials from alumni. Stories are a great way for prospective and current students to learn more about what they can expect at USF and after graduation. We’ll be sure to add any content to your program pages once it’s written.

Work with OMC on Multimedia Content:

OMC’s talented multimedia team can help you tell your story through video or photography. The multimedia team captures the unique experiences of your students, faculty, and alumni, and you can share that content on your website. Interested in working with OMC on photography or video? Contact your OMC marketing partner to get started. Once the photography and videos are ready to share, let web services know where you want to add them to your site.

Send Your Career & Outcome Information:

Updated career and outcome information is a great addition to any page. If you would like to create a new section or update an existing page, we encourage you to reach out to web services when that data is available. Also consider sharing any brochure or other print content to supplement your data.

We hope you take the summer to review your pages and map out what you’d like to add to your site. As you begin working on your content, you can refer to our general guidelines and policies for best practices. We look forward to working with you.


Read More

two people talking in the university center

Web Redesign | Discovery

You may be wondering what to expect during the discovery phase of the redesign project outlined in our previous post. You can think of discovery as the foundation for the rest of the project. It’s broken down into four steps, and those four steps will ultimately guide the direction and vision for the final site. Here’s a step-by-step explanation of each discovery phase:

Collect & Review:
The discovery process will begin with a “collect and review” stage. During this phase of the project, Digital Pulp will learn more about USF and review existing internal goals, research, and analysis. They will conduct an in-depth review and audit of the current site and review USF’s brand and branding standard as well as USF’s Google Analytics. This step will help guide the next step in the process – stakeholder interviews.

Stakeholder Interviews:
Stakeholder interviews will ensure that Digital Pulp has a well-rounded understanding of the challenges and needs for the project. As part of the process, they will meet with key stakeholders to gain insight into topics and areas that will help build goals and metrics for success.

Identify Goals & Metrics:
How will we know the new site will be successful? That’s the goal of the next step. Digital Pulp will identify where USF can make an impact and create goals and measures of success. During this phase, a formal set of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will be established to help guide the strategy brief and future phases of the project.

Strategy Brief:
The culmination of the discovery phase will be the strategy brief. Digital Pulp will create a document at the end of the discovery phase that outlines the strategic goals for the project, prioritizes target audiences, and identifies key site features, creative considerations, and key performance indicators.

Overall, the Discovery phase will help ensure a seamless design process. In the coming weeks, Digital Pulp and the Web Services team will begin to collect and review information and schedule meetings with key stakeholders on campus. As always, if you have any questions about the project or where we stand, feel free to reach out to us with questions.

Read More

students studying in UC

Web Redesign | Timeline

We’re excited to announce that the official project kick-off date is April 19, 2021. Our goal is to launch the final site by June 2, 2022. Check out the tentative timeline below, and stay tuned for more information about Discovery and Strategy in upcoming blog posts.

Discovery & Strategy (April – May 2021)

  • Stakeholder Interviews
  • Site Audit
  • Stakeholder Summary
  • Strategy Brief

User Experience Design (May 2021 – September 2021)

  • Site Map & Wireframes
  • User Testing
  • Messaging

Functional Requirements (September 2021 – October 2021)

  • Content Migration Strategy

Technical Development (October 2021 – April 2022)

Client Testing (April 2022)

Launch (June 2022)

Read More

meet the team

Web Redesign | Meet Marlene Tom

Hello USF, we’re the web services team! We’ll be working with you, alongside Digital Pulp, to reimagine the website. To help you get to know us better, we’re launching Meet the Team posts here on the blog. These short Q+As are an opportunity for us to answer your questions, share our thoughts about the project, and help you put a face with a name.

Today on the blog, we’re featuring Marlene Tom, Assistant Vice President, Web & Digital Communications Strategy. Marlene is the redesign project lead, head of the web strategy committee, and oversees the Web and Digital Communications team. She’s also a fourth-generation, native San Franciscan! Read her thoughts on the redesign and what she’s looking forward to most in the months ahead.

What excites you most about the redesign project?
The opportunity to reimagine and re-build the front door to our university — not only the visual design aspects but also content and information architecture. This is like a complete home improvement renovation project where we do a complete overhaul.

Imagine it’s the end of the project and you’re looking at the site, what do you see?
A visually stunning, interactive, and intuitive website that communicates the value and benefits of a USF education. A website that really brings to life what students can expect from their experience if they choose USF.

Why should the USF community care about the redesign project?
The website is USF’s number one global marketing and recruitment channel. It is the means by which virtually all prospective students at all levels learn about USF, submit their applications, and fully inform their enrollment decisions. The opportunity to redesign the website only comes up every five years and everyone can contribute their ideas, stories, content, and experiences into helping communicate the unique, mission-driven, and wonderful place that is USF. A good place to start is to fill out our website survey.

What can we look forward to next?
The project engagement with our vendor will begin in April and the first phase will be research and discovery. The vendor will be meeting with key stakeholders from all around the university.

Read More