• joshwilsher

Grad Week 2021 | Paws for Life Site (Spring 2018)

To celebrate my graduation in May 2021 I am sharing highlights of my coursework through the past 4 years in Utah Valley University's interaction design program. These projects are not perfected but ones that I enjoyed working on and I think show my progression and understanding through the years, as well as give a window into the work that is done through the program. Think of them as bite-size case studies.

At the very start of the program I was taking basic UX courses. During these classes I learnt and built upon the basics of design, color theory, typography and began employing UX methods and principles through small exercises and semester long projects.

One of the first projects I worked on was "ye olde site redesign". You know the drill. Find a site that is lacking in UX finesse and give it a facelift, complete with usability and a new style guide. The site I chose to work on was a non-profit site for a dog adoption shelter.

The original site was still rocking an early 2000s look with confusing navigation, difficult to use forms and a dark, conflicting color scheme. So, with the redesign I created a new style with brighter, more hopeful colors. I decided upon new fonts and imagery to convey that adopting is positive and fulfilling for those who are looking.

Before applying all of the fancy things to the project, I did as any sane UX designer would do and that is sketch and ideate layouts that would be beneficial to the site. I also designed grey wireframe mockups to see how it looked digitally. I now heavily use figma these days but during my early days of the program I was using sketch and towards the end Adobe Xd.

It was during this time that I also began to learn that responsive design is an important thing to keep in mind when designing.

My love for UX design only grew from here as it started to click that not everyone just uses desktop. The site could be accessed from any number of devices, all having different screen resolutions.

After receiving feedback for the wireframes from peers and my professor, I turned them into high-fidelity comps that would give a final look as to what the site would be. I then took these screens, loaded them into Invision (we didn't have drag and drop prototyping at the time, and what a blessing it is now) and created a presentable final project that I then showed the class for finals.

What I learned from this:

I wanted to kick things off with my first site re-design because I feel like it really is such a simple thing but helped me to really grasp the basics of UX. It was one of my first experiences realizing that one size doesn't fit all and that the purpose of UX design is to tailor and customize experiences to specific audiences.

I used to include this project on my first portfolio because I was proud of this first step I had taken. I had stepped over basic graphic design and was now integrating purpose into what was being created. Again, it was such a simple thing to redesign a site but it helped me understand my role, future, expectations and who I would be as a designer.


For extra credit in the class (yes, gotta over achieve) we were tasked with making a motion graphic that could be used on the site. With my graphic, I created it to act as a prototype of how the site could employ a parallax scroll to convey a quick message then have a call to action.

I went on to create a whole kiosk experience with after effects and Tumult Hype but starting out I was pretty proud of this one. 😁

Be sure to check back the rest of this week as I'll be sharing more tidbits of my learning through the Interaction Design program at UVU.

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