Accessible website design with custom research icons

MIT Biology website design
MITDigitalDigitalAccessibilityUX DesignWebsite DesignWebsite DevelopmentIndustryIndustryEducationDurationDuration8 monthsProject teamProject teamJulia FrenkleUX & Creative Director, PartnerCasey McGeeArt DirectorAndrew MelnychukFull-stack Developer

MIT is known for innovation and excellence. The website and look and feel of the MIT Biology department did not reflect this brand on a strategic, design, or technical level. The accessible website design needed an updated brand look and feel, improved user experience, updated content, technology integration points for automatic content updates, and an easy to use content management system.

Discovery & research

Our team conducted several working sessions and interviews with internal stakeholders to establish the goals, needs, and constraints of the project. Interviews and one-on-one interviews were conducted by the Biology team to gather insight on user needs. We reviewed competitor sites, their information and navigational structure, as well as their visual brand and brand messaging.

Architecture & user experience

We collaborated with our partners at Independent Femail for the sitemap, content audit, writing and website governance. We created wireframes for all custom page types to outline the information sections and information hierarchy. The technical specifications were documented in detail for each custom page template and the website as a whole. Hosting was identified and integration points were defined.

Visit the website

Accessible website design 

Our design team identified a design direction to visualize the brand of the MIT Biology department and to have an engaging, contemporary look and feel. Custom icons were designed for the research areas. The design was customized for a great user experience across all devices — desktop, tablet, and mobile phones.

Development & testing

The accessible website design was built with the WordPress content management system. We tested the website in detail and client approval testing was done before launch.

Content & training

Our team conducted a full-day training session with the client team. The first half of the day was focused on learning the WordPress tool and how to use it for maintaining the pages on the new site. The second part of the day was focused on practicing what was learned by implementing content. Everyone entered content into the website side and asked questions as they came up. The thorough training session made content entry and formatting easy for the Biology team.

MIT Biology website design
MIT Biology website design

We were impressed by the process and the tools that kept the project moving forward to a timely completion for our website redesign. The Opus team worked with us through all of the occasional bumps that come along with complicated projects. They truly felt like partners rather than vendors.

Vivian SiegelLecturer, Scientific Communications, MIT Department of Biology