MIT Biology Website Design

The client

MIT Biology Department explores molecular cell biology on all levels.  With over 60 world-renowned faculty in the department, this community is dedicated to research, teaching, and collaborating.

The project

The Biology Department hired our design agency to redesign their website.  With the new website design, they were hoping to move away from their predominately orange color palette, and enable both internal and external audiences to find relevant content more efficiently. They also wanted to increase overall awareness of their department internally and externally.

Graphic design challenge and approach

When our Boston studio does custom website design, we follow a clear process.  This allows for time efficiency and a clear roadmap towards the desired web design for the client.

During the initial meetings, Sr. Graphic Designer and Graphic Illustrator Casey and the MIT team determined that MIT’s Biology department needed a responsive website with features such as:

  • automatically updated publication links on faculty profiles
  • a news feed
  • dedicated landing pages for their different audiences
  • external and internal calendar via Localist feed,
  • password protected pages for internal audiences
  • custom icon design for the research areas

New Biology website

Higher Education websites, in general, are somewhat unique as they truly need to satisfy many different user audiences. Potential students, current students, alumni, faculty, and staff will all have their distinct goals. We try to solve this through smart information architecture, user-based navigation, and targeted design elements. And to further connect with different audiences, we created testimonials on key pages that update on page refresh, to keep the experience fresh without website admins needing to constantly make content changes.

Pulling in the News feeds, Publication feeds and Events feeds from their respective tools and displaying them in a custom website design were interesting challenges. We had to learn about each of the tools and what their boundaries might be, while trying to display the data in a way that is most intuitive for the end user. Our web developer Yuriy always finds a way to make the custom website design work, not only visually, but also the backend UI.

The research section of the website was an interesting graphic design and illustration challenge. Casey learned a lot about the 10 different research areas, which allowed her to work with the MIT team to create a custom icon to represent each one.  The icons are used throughout the site, including the faculty page, to identify which areas of research they are involved in. We also used them in the News feed to create consistency and allow people to browse and find their areas of interest easily.

Biology Faculty website page on mobile

A website like the MIT Biology site contains many different types of content and needs to work for a variety of audiences.  This is why the clear process that Opus has developed makes it easier for the client to enjoy the process, and for our website projects to be successful.

MIT Biology threw a launch party to celebrate this accomplishment, they love the website as much as we do!