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Case Study

UC Berkeley Graduate Division

Improving the web user journey through a compelling brand story.

Services Provided

  • Audience Discovery

  • Design

  • Web Development

  • Content Strategy

  • Accessibility

  • Long-Term Support

Our Approach

The Challenge

When the UC Berkeley Graduate Division team approached us, they were dissatisfied with their website. It was disjointed and improperly organized across 3200+ pages, making it difficult for site visitors to find what they were looking for.

The team understood they were in significant need of strategic design and content organization that could better achieve two goals: to attract new graduate students and guide current students.

The new website also needed to tackle website accessibility issues. Their existing website was scoring well below the university’s measurement system requirements, and quality assurance would need to be woven into the development of the new website.

The Solution

Our team knew that the key to improving the website’s design and content organization had to begin by studying the website user’s journey. To achieve this, the project kicked off with a series of discovery activities led by our team.

As we began the design phase, we knew we needed to lead the user intuitively through the website, following a cohesive thread of exploration. We decided the best approach was to find a compelling brand story that would carry the visitor throughout the pages.

Referring back to our audience discovery, we focused on the unique story of the Graduate Division’s role at the best public university in America, and its commitment to building programs where diversity, equity, and inclusion can flourish.

Key Actions

Worked with faculty and leadership to imagine and articulate a vision for the website through a guided sitemap and design workshops.

Conducted a series of user interviews and surveys to learn more about the user experience.

Wrote a discovery brief to guide our next steps.

Built a dynamic database that pulls information from the central UC Berkeley programs catalog.

Set up crossdomain tracking and GA integration.

Migrated and consolidated the supporting websites into a WP Engine account.

Identified and performed a technical audit of the existing pages to ensure that we would improve website accessibility.

Performed some of the content adjustments to save time on their internal staff and student resources.


The completed website launched in 2021 with a more streamlined design and sitemap organization.

The content celebrates UC Berkeley’s unique position as a top-ranked institution for graduate learning, where students from diverse backgrounds – especially those from underrepresented groups – belong and thrive.

The website’s improvements have resulted in measurable changes.

Improvement was also measured for website accessibility, where our team’s tactical approach resulted in a 36% increase in the site’s accessibility score (per Siteimprove). A follow-up project is planned to continue PDF and Word document accessibility remediation.

See the Work

Berkeley Graduate Division screenshot of Desktop and Mobile view

Project Journey

  1. Discovery

    1. 1. Vision Statement
    2. 2. User Interviews & Surveys
    3. 3. Accessibility Assessment
    4. 4. Discovery Brief
  2. Design

    1. 5. Sitemap
    2. 6. Wireframes
    3. 7. Homepage Mockups
    4. 8. Secondary Mockups
    5. 9. Content Strategy
  3. Development

    1. 10. Task Refinement
    2. 11. Database Integration
    3. 12. Content Migration
    4. 13. Feature Build
  4. Analyze

    1. 14. Analytics Integration
    2. 15. Cross Domain Tracking

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