Jillian Warren

Digital Project Management & Communications

Tag: Websites

Farewell to Posterous

Jillian Kuhn Warren's Posterous

I was sad to learn that Posterous, an easy-to-use blogging platform, will be shutting down at the end of April. It’s not unexpected news, since Posterous was acquired by Twitter in 2012, but I’ve enjoyed using it for the past few years and hate to see it go.

Personally, this news meant that it was time for me to find a new home for my photo blog, where I post random snapshots from my life via my cell phone camera. Fortunately, though, the transition was an easy process. I was able to export my Posterous posts, create a new pics.jillianwarren.com subdomain, and port the Posterous posts into this new WordPress blog.

It’s nothing fancy (to be honest, it’s largely shots of my dog), but if you ever want to peer into the random goings on of my daily life, check it out.

Lenovo Blogs and Social: A New Connection for Those Who “Do”

Lenovo Social Homepage

January 3, 2012
Written for Viget Labs’ Four Labs Blog
Original Post

2011 was a banner year for Lenovo. This international tech company was crowned the #3 global PC maker, rolled out a snazzy new brand campaign (have you seen its For Those Who Do ads?), and partnered with Viget to launch the new Lenovo Blogs and Social pages.

Our goal for this redesign was to centralize Lenovo’s existing blogs and social media in an engaging, navigable, and branded way, using one easily maintainable CMS. This would solve a few of the old sites’ big problems:

  1. Their dated designs no longer aligned with the brand’s message or high-tech look.
  2. It was difficult to make quick edits to the site and to manage so many authors.
  3. The Blogs section was divided into nine separate, ambiguously-named blogs, making it difficult for users to find relevant content.

The new Blogs and Social pages solve problem #1 through a gorgeous look and feel that really matches the brand. Check out the new Blogs homepage as an example:

Lenovo Blogs Homepage

To tackle problem #2, we built the site using the ExpressionEngine CMS. Now, the Lenovo team can quickly jump in to the back-end of the site to manage blog content, and each contributing author gets his own account with unique permissions to access the content areas relevant to him. We also set up easily curated social media feeds and different languages for Lenovo’s worldwide audience.

We addressed problem #3 by reorganizing the Blogs structure. We created a new tagging schema that de-compartmentalizes blog topics and makes it easier for users to find content. Now, users can click through all blog posts in one place; plus, they can filter by topics, products, recency, or popularity.

Lenovo Tagging Schema

Such a high-tech, high-energy company needs a web site that can keep up with it, and the new Lenovo Blogs and Social pages are certainly up to the task! We hope they serve Lenovo well, and many thanks to Erik, Nano, and the rest of the team for a fun, successful project!

The Red and Blue, Reimagined: the new UPenn.edu

UPenn.edu Admissions & Aid page

September 19, 2011
Written for Viget Labs’ Four Labs Blog
Original Post

I’ve been bursting at the seams trying to keep this one a secret, but the time has finally come to announce the new upenn.edu!

This site serves as the primary web portal for the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution in Philadelphia. Founded by Benjamin Franklin more than 250 years ago, Penn has rich historical roots and a modern, forward-thinking philosophy that has helped it grow into one of the world’s premier centers for education, scholarship, and research. It’s also the best school in the world (although, as an alum, I am clearly biased).

Penn’s previous site had been around since my freshman year (a long time ago, especially by web standards) and no longer accurately reflected the University’s evolving personality and standing in the global community. UPenn.edu needed a modern design that showcased the University’s friendly culture, top academics, and commitment to service … And, that’s where Viget came in.

UPenn.edu homepage, designed by Viget Labs

From our initial on-campus workshop to final site testing before launch, this engagement ran the gamut of our web expertise — including user experience and visual design, front-end development, and marketing services. We handed off our built-out files to the Penn team to integrate and add content, and everyone’s hard work culminated in a final product that truly does Penn justice.

The new site, informed by extensive user research, shows off the University of Pennsylvania’s unique features through beautiful campus imagery. These gorgeous images, many of which were taken by the talented Penn Web team, really make the site come alive. In particular, the simple yet eye-catching homepage uses striking visuals to tell the University’s story in a compelling way. The large background image changes each time the page refreshes, and the red headlines sidebar is anchored to the left for maximum impact. The Life at Penn section, another storytelling tool, gives a great glimpse into campus culture — particularly for off-campus audiences.

UPenn.edu Sports & Recreation

This main .edu site faces big challenges in that it needs to address every possible user group, from prospective students to staff to alumni, and it has to cover a ton of information. We used an audience-specific level of homepage navigation and carefully planned page layouts to point these diverse users toward the content they’re seeking. This one site connects the different departments, schools, and initiatives in an intuitive, organized way.

Thanks for all the hard work @viget! The new upenn.edu looks awesome! – @PennWebTeam

As someone with a ridiculous amount of Red and Blue pride, working on this project has been a dream come true! My sincerest thanks and congratulations go out to the wonderful Penn Web and Communications teams and my talented Viget team members. I think Ben Franklin would be amazed at your work and at just how far his University has come. Here’s a toast to dear old Penn!

The UPenn.edu of yesterday (2002 redesign):

The old UPenn.edu

The UPenn.edu of today (2011 Viget redesign):

UPenn.edu About page, designed by Viget Labs, 2011

My Big Launch!

Penn

My alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, just launched a new redesign of upenn.edu last week. I couldn’t be prouder to say that I project managed the Viget Labs team that worked with Penn on the new site!

I’ll have more to say on this soon, but for now — enjoy the site!

UPenn.edu homepage

Designing for Facebook: the MyBand Application Redesign

MyBand Facebook Application

February 3, 2011
Written for Viget Labs’ Four Labs Blog
Original Post

Viget doesn’t just do web sites — we also design all sorts of other cool products and applications, from mobile to Facebook.

As an example, we worked with ReverbNation, a start-up that’s become one of the biggest musician sites on the web, to redesign the user interface for its MyBand Facebook application. With 2.5 million active users, including musicians from Sean Kingston and Tenacious D to the garage band down the street, MyBand aims to keep fans engaged with an artist’s latest songs, photos, videos, and tour dates. It also provides a path to purchase merchandise or sign up for a mailing list.

The MyBand application displays a great amount of diverse information — so we needed to create a visual hierarchy that reduces clutter while making all this information easy to digest.

Although the Facebook platform allows for a lot of flexibility in design and layout, this new design closely mirrors the standard Facebook design in color, icons, typography, and other visual aspects. This lends a certain credibility to this third-party application that it might not have with a unique design. The more MyBand resembles the Facebook brand, the more likely users are to trust it as an “official” part of the Facebook experience.

Also, throughout the project, we were aware of upcoming changes to Facebook’s layouts — specifically with regards to page width. Through a careful layout and longer scroll, we created a fluid, flexible interface that could easily accommodate Facebook’s constantly evolving layouts.

ReverbNation MyBand application design

A special thanks goes out to ReverbNation for a fun project that let us think outside the standard “web site” box!

Giving a New Face to Ruzuku.com

Ruzuku.com

January 28, 2011
Written for Viget Labs’ Four Labs Blog
Original Post

Here at Viget, we love working with young start-ups to help them establish their identities and express a personality that really stands out.

Recently we worked with our friends at MoreBetterLabs to design a new marketing homepage for Ruzuku.com. Ruzuku is an online social learning community, and it needed a more compelling homepage design to coincide with the launch of user registration.

As you can see, the original page was pretty basic …

Ruzuku.com (before)

… While the new design gives this start-up much more personality!

Ruzuku.com (after)

After learning more about Ruzuku, we created a series of mood boards to explore different design directions and narrow down the best fit. This final concept is bright and welcoming, and the polaroids feature images of real users — which help give an engaging new face to the Ruzuku community.

“It was a lot of fun working with you guys on this, and we’re very happy with the design,” said Jackson Fox, Principal Interaction Designer at MoreBetterLabs (and Viget alum). We had a blast working together on this, and congratulations to the Ruzuku team!

Where I’ve Been Lately

Marry.JillianKuhn.com

I launched this website just in time to get engaged and start focusing all my efforts on our wedding website instead! If you’re interested, feel free to check out my not-at-all-professional site, marry.jilliankuhn.com. I promise to return to this site once all the wedding craziness is over and done with!

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