Being Digitally Up-To-Date
Just because you’re a small-sized non-profit organization, doesn’t mean you don’t need an all singing and dancing website

WEB DESIGN
REFUGEE EMPOWERMENT CENTER

Role:

Entrepreneurial Project
Project Lead

Team:

Jay Tillary (Engineer)
Matthew Stewart (Junior Designer)
Ben Jones (Project Lead, Head Designer)

Duration:
January-March 2017
Overview
The Southern Sudan Community Association (SSCA – located in Omaha, NE) had taken the decision to completely overhaul their entire identity and brand positioning after expanding their extended services to refugees beyond Southern Sudan.
As a pro-bono project, my role was to design, construct, and replace their current website, incorporating new content, functionalities, up-to-date infrastructure, and their new brand identity and direction.
Discipline
Product Designer
Product Strategy, User Interaction, Information Architecture, Visual design & Product Build
Background
The SSCA had renamed their organization to the Refugee Empowerment Center and employed Omaha based creative agency Oxide Design to create their new identity. When complete, I met with Oxide to receive the new assets and further the art direction the website would take. From here I took the lead with the development of the new website.
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Research
PREVIOUS WEBSITE
The previous website was created in-house when the SSCA was first established. Up to this point the ability to edit the website content easily with no coding experience was the main focus of the website. Due to a tight budget and lack of technical skills, user experience, interaction design, and multi-device functionality were overlooked.
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Client Requirements
SSCA now named Refugee Empowerment Center (REC) had spent time with Oxide Design defining their audience and how their brand should speak to them. They defined 80% traffic would be from refugees looking for resources, 15% from organizations looking to employ refugees, and 5% other traffic. The website should, therefore, be tailored to non-native English speaking users and should display content as clear as possible.
REC wanted to be able to integrate the option for future functionalities into their website which include an interactive calendar of events, live social media streams, an e-commerce feature, and a members area.
Competitive Market
As part of the design process, I conducted research of other non-profit and refugee websites with the client for inspiration and expectations. We established a style direction and how that would effect future photography and content, noting that my research had shown a lot of organizations display a very attractive and effective landing page/section, but further in, more typographic content than nessessary.
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UX
User Flow
After gathering all the data poins from Oxide Design and defining a direction the website should take, a clear flow-chart was created to demonstrate how the user would move through the website and arrive at the information REC wants to provide.
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Wireframes
The home page and an interior page was mocked-up to show the structure of the initial website, and how the prelimonary determined elements would sit together.
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UI
COLORS
The color pallet was already set in place with Oxide Design’s logo creation. At this point, the color variety is enough to move forward with as we are keeping the art direction simple.
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TYPOGRAPHY
The font used within the new logo is custom designed by Oxide Design, and therefore unrealistic to use as header or body copy within the website. It gave m the chance to think and define what style would suit the new voice of REC. Monserrat was chosen as it’s a clean sans-serif that works well in both header and body formats, also it oozes a soft welcoming feeling which is perfect for the website’s audience.
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Photography
I finalized the photography art direction with REC to provide a very clean and striking style. A selection of eight images would be used for each page header images when organized event imagery is abscent.
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Final UI Design
HOME & INTERIOR PAGES

www.refugeeempowerment.com

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Outcomes
A successful pro-bono project completed and handed off to the client for their in-house designers to take ownership and up-keep through WordPress. The Refugee Empowerment Center now have a fully responsive compliant website to be able to take forward into the future.
Collaborating with other agencies
It’s important to experience how other creative organizations work to keep my own skills sharp, especially when working in a freelance role. Also there’s the added bonus of making new contacts!
Assumptions make an ass out of you and me
Everyone has their own opinion on project strategy, product outcomes, and design. So to assume the client doesn’t know what they want based on their current brand assets is to my detriment.
Next Project
Resurrecting a Theatre