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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the oldest engineering school in America, and as they celebrate their bicentennial, I worked with them to refresh their official homepage where students, staff, and alums can quickly navigate to pre-existing pages.


Understanding the original site

At the start of the process, I took a look at what parts of their original homepage were in need of change. 

As a school known for their famous alums, such as the inventor of the ferris wheel, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., or  the "father of modern TV," Dr. Allen B. Dumont, I wanted to highlight the characteristics of such a prolific engineering school. 

What the original homepage lacked was a sense of clean, sleek, efficient design. 

The nav bar is a critical starting point for a user's experience


To begin, I took a look at the original header nav. There were issues with the main logo being low res, and what seemed, 3 different sets of menus that misaligned.

The number of line breaks and pages was keeping users from being able to quickly visually explore the nav. There wasn't enough typographic hierarchy to seamlessly offer information to other pages.

A gallery offers user's a variety of insights into the RPI experience

When taking a look at the original "gallery", what we really missed was a way for the school to exhibit more events, more news, and listings that could engage users. The original gallery was static, and could only feature one listing at a time. There was also a blue CTA that did not fit in their brand guidelines that stuck out against their traditional red. 

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Insights from our prior project, Rensselaer Firsts

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Having produced a prior website for the school, we learned a lot about how it performed against the original RPI homepage. Though the purpose of the RPI Firsts site was different from what a school's homepage has to offer, we updated a few of the systems from their pre-existing brand guidelines to make it fresh and new.

Website engagement rates



The overall site engagement rate for is roughly 10 points higher than at 56.26%.

Site engagement for averages 46.08%.

Homepage avg. engagement rates

42 seconds

21 seconds

The homepage for has an average engagement time of 42 seconds.

However, the homepage for averages half the engagement time of at 21 seconds.

Takeaways from the analytics

We were able to show the prospective success of if we applied the same philosophy we created 

Accessibility takes priority

One of the first things I wanted to focus on was bringing accessible design to the forefront. Taking a look at the footer, I immediately noticed that the text over image was going to bring issues. And not just that, having 2 seemingly "different" sections was confusing.

Much like the nav, the footer was meant to be a conclusion to the site where users met gateways to pages they were curious after digesting the entire homepage.

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The conclusion

After updating and refining the new and improved, I was really glad to see a cohesive homepage come together. With how impactful Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was in making leaps of invention and discovery in the world, I believe we succeeded in being a clean and straight-forward starting point for user's in the exploration of the school's online presence.

Take a look of it in the wild.

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