University of Chicago Professional Education

Web Strategy & Design System

  • University of Chicago Professional Education
  • Challenge

    UChicago needed to better articulate its offerings and reputation to non-traditional students to stay top-of-mind in the crowded field of professional education.

  • Solution

    Create a communication strategy that speaks to UChicago’s commitment and unique approach to learning while recognizing the variety of paths to education.

  • Results

    A new website dedicated to professional education at UChicago, designed to enable students to discover programs and courses that align with their individual educational goals.

The Chicago difference. As the landscape for professional education continues to expand, students are inundated with seemingly-similar options of programs and courses. The University of Chicago needed to distinguish their educational approach in the context of non-traditional students. Needs can vary greatly for non-traditional students, from career switchers to leisurely learners. We helped UChicago leverage their distinct approach to student experiences and course offerings built to work for unconventional paths to education.

View the Site
  • A suite of digital devices depicting UCPE's new website
  • Knowing when to stand out

    Their messaging and web presence needed to coexist within the broader UChicago brand umbrella. Knowing these boundaries, we concentrated on the areas where distinction mattered. Our audience for professional education was specific —the non-traditional student— and our understanding of who these students are: what motivates them, and how the Chicago Approach specifically benefits them became major pillars for our work. We also developed a new thought-leadership blog, aimed at leveraging expertise from UChicago’s own faculty and industry partners to further establish UChicago as a trusted resource in continuing education. The decision to build this digital publication was based on a content strategy and process we developed, which helped the team select and produce content.

  • Eight cards with questions and answers from user interviews
  • Three page compositions stacked in a diagonal pattern from top left to bottom right. The images on the page comps feature the articles pages — aka perspectives pages— including the index, feature articles, and article detail pages.
  • Inclusive and ownable design

    Starting with a well-established institutional brand identity, we created a design system that was intentional, accessible, and flexible. With the future growth of UCPE in mind, we designed a set of scalable and reusable User Interface elements to unify the site as UCPE expands and builds new pages. Knowing UCPE’s commitment to every student-type, we ensured this design system met the appropriate accessibility standards: AA large to AAA.

  • The UCPE design system which included such colors as maroon, salmon, plum, light and dark grey, and orange; photographic samples; call to action, promo, and other page blocks.
  • A grid of 10 illustrations that act as indices to each the area of study including applied science, business and leadership, social good, healthcare, and liberal arts
  • Championing partnership

    We worked alongside UChicago’s team of developers and writers to strategize and create their features, while building trust and team buy-in across stakeholder groups. This approach enabled their team to stress-test our work, take ownership of its progress, and see quick incorporation of their feedback. Based on this collaboration, we developed tools and documentation that are tailored and actionable, so UChicago can move forward with confidence and govern their vision autonomously. As part of this, we created pre-CMS content templates, built so they can focus on writing great content. .

  • UChicago and Viget staff working together, drawing on whiteboards, and talking through their problems and goals.
  • Page comps of the home, about, and program overview pages.

Summary

Through in-depth market and user research, we helped the University of Chicago position its long-standing commitment to professional education within the context of a growing market of alternative paths to knowledge. Their new website celebrates students’ individualism by providing tools and resources designed to find programs that support their specific educational goals.