Pratt News

Pratt News provides information, ideas, stories, and updates across all Pratt Institute. It is an intensive and streamlined website that offers information from Prattfolio, Daily Hub, Press, and much more. With this new user experience and interface, the Pratt News website has well-structured information, streamlined user flow, responsive design, and a better content management system for the editorial team.

Being a part of the digital communications team within the Pratt Communications and Marketing department, I led the team with user research and wireframing stages for this project. The overall aim of this project was to enhance the user experience and user interface of the news website for Pratt Institute through profound research and insights from stakeholders, directors, and developers.

Project Details


Alex Weiss Hills,
David Frisco,
James Kempster,
Jun Kok,
Laura Banas,
Meera Nathan,
Robert McConnell,
Sarah Hromack,
Raunak Jangid

My role

User Research,
User Interface Design,
Visual Design

Tools used

Adobe XD,
Adobe Illustrator,


September, 2020 to August, 2021

Multiple desktop screens displaying the Pratt News website.

Project Brief

Pratt Institute needed to enhance its user experience and interface with the news website for Pratt. It is because the previous news website for Pratt was outdated and was not structured well. This redesign was an excellent opportunity to organize the website, welcome more users, and provide a better user flow. As Pratt Institute will also be launching a new visual design system in the future, this news redesign project was a great way to soft launch the new visual design system for Pratt Institute.

This project was a very high priority with different needs from various stakeholders and directors. Even though it was challenging to prioritize each individual and their needs, it gave us a good chance to expand the project's scope and offer more as an outcome.

The aim was to -
  • Develop a user-friendly CMS that will allow editors and others within Pratt Institute to edit content and manage designs of the news site directly.
  • Enhance the Pratt News website's user experience and user interface to provide a more engaging experience.
  • Have the Pratt News website serve as a kickstart to the new visual design system for Pratt Institute.


To further understand more and as a first step, the team did individual and group interviews with various stakeholders and directors directly involved with this project. These individuals were from diverse departments within Pratt Institute, such as Communications and Marketing, Editorial, Social Media, Development, and Press. These individual and group interviews helped us to know individual needs and their expectations from this project. It also assisted us in learning the Pratt Institute's audiences.

Insights from interview

  • Making the website more dynamic by allowing all the media formats such as video, podcasts, gifs, and images.
  • A unified and streamlined system for editors and individuals to publish stories on Pratt News.
  • Engaging and welcoming more users to the website who are not related to Pratt Institute.
  • Providing a smoother user experience by utilizing a better search functionality, responsive design, and yet feel like a part of
Side profile of a young man in his 20s

Rob Hunter (23)

Rob wants to make a career in communication design and open his design studio. Rob resides in Meredith and is planning to move to New York City for better opportunities. Pratt Institute is one of the institutes that Rob has listed down for his education. He tries to keep up with all the information and stay updated with news regarding design schools for his undergraduate degree.

Needs and requirements

  • Being up to date with news from design school
  • Networking with individuals from the design industry
  • Get himself educated in the design field
front profile of a female with professional background

Hannah Stock (36)

Hannah is a editor at a news publication in New York City. Hannah has been reporting stories from design schools as the new semester approaches for students. She keeps an eye for all the news from various design schools across New York City. She also often contacts the press relations from these schools to be in touch with certain faculties or students.

Needs and requirements

  • Keeping up with all the news from design schools
  • Being able to connect with the right individuals for the news article
  • Cover authentic and valuable news for readers

User Research

As we got some insight from the discovery phase, we did the comparative analysis as the next step. For the comparative analysis, we covered five design schools within the united states and understood their user experience of the news website. This comparative analysis gave us a good opportunity to pick the best practices and avoid the mistakes for the redesign of Pratt News. It also helped us to understand the competition and how Pratt can stand out from its competition.

Insights from comparative analysis

  • Highlight the news page on the homepage and consider a subscription model.
  • Use a tabbing system and back buttons for navigation.
  • Group content by function rather than the audience.
  • Cover external news stories, but open links in new tabs.
  • Allow users to contact experts or submit stories with minimal resistance.

Group Activity

As we completed the comparative analysis, we did a short activity with the stakeholders and directors. In this group activity, we asked our participants about their journey of receiving news and how they feel about each process step. Later, we also asked them what they would envision for the news site: things they want to see and don't. This activity was a great practice to align all the stakeholders and directors and understand their needs and wants.

"How do we do something that feels immersive in presenting the work that our community does? Right now everything is very static—words on a page or photos."
- David Frisco, Director of Creative Services

"I would love to see a homepage that’s as energized but also as classy as what you’d see at other news organizations."
- James Kempster, Vice President for Communications and Marketing

View the detailed presentation for Discovery, User research, comparative analysis and group activity.

Findings -

  • 72% of participants agree on having better content segregation through tags and topics. 
  • 63% of participants feel the necessity to improve the search functionality within the news website.
  • 54% of participants thought of allowing for many different layouts and supporting a diverse range of media types.
  • 45% of participants feel to improve website engagement through bolder images, interactions, and dynamic components.
  • 45% of participants prioritize the need to improve the user journey. That is suggesting related articles and relevant pages, Ensuring that external links do not force navigation away from the news page, and Avoiding causing the user to be overwhelmed by outdated content.

Information Architecture

Before working on the wireframes, we understood different types of content needed to be present on the Pratt News website. These contents come from various departments, and each has its presence. It was crucial to understanding each content type to be beneficial for us to create a streamlined user journey.

With so many content types and subcategories, it was essential to structure the content appropriately. Content structuring aimed to provide a unified experience to the user. This new content structure also helped reduce the information overload and presenting with the right amount of content.

Articles feature all the news articles from Pratt Institute, whether video, images, or audio.

Daily Hub
The daily hub is a collection of short news shared across Pratt Institute. These news are a quick read and are updated daily.

Prattfolio is the only magazine published by Pratt Institute. This magazine publishes stories within and for Pratt Institute. With the news website, prattfolio is becoming digital for future issues.

The Press section features all the news shared by an external publication that is related to Pratt Institute.

Those we have lost
This section displays the list of the community members that Pratt Institute has lost during this very difficult time, whether to COVID-19 or other causes.

The contact section would display all the necessary details about contact information.

Flow diagram explaining the structure of the News website


As we got the insights and knowledge from the user research, we designed the wireframes as our next step. We approached the mobile-first process, where we first created the wireframe for mobile devices and then for desktop. We then shared these wireframes with the stakeholders and got their feedback regarding the same. There were many alterations to the wireframes till we reached the outcome that suited the needs best.

View the Interactive wireframes for desktop.
View the Interactive wireframes for mobile.

The aim was to -

  • Seamlessly combine all the Pratt news information in the information architecture.
  • Provide a smooth user experience to the users while they are navigating through the Pratt News website.
  • Provide an equal and responsive user experience on all ranges of devices.
Multiple wireframes for the news website for desktop.
Multiple wireframes for the news website for mobile.
Navigation for the Pratt News.

The navigation of the Pratt News website displays all the sections. This way, it is easier for users to access all the sections from any webpage.

These sections are unique in their way and provide completely different content from each other.

Recent articles webpage for Pratt news.

Throughout the website, there are signifiers that inform the users about the content type or function. It was necessary to do as not all of the users on the website will be aware of it.

There are signifiers for a media type such as audio, video, or image. Through these signifiers the website can also inform users about the content type across the website.

Daily Hub section for the Pratt News.

Throughout the website, each content type has given its importance and values. No two content on the Pratt news website looks the same. It is done so that the users are aware of the information they are consuming.

Since Pratt Daily Hub is quick short posts, it was necessary to treat this section correctly. Hence the idea of post-it notes is implemented for Pratt Daily Hub, which makes it easier to read on the go.

Related articles section for Pratt News.

One of the significant parts of the unified user experience was providing similar content that kept the users engaged with the website. With this News website, we wanted our users to invest their time in the website.

Hence, we added a related article section at the bottom of each article to lead the users to the next step. It will ensure that the users invest their time in the news website and take away insightful and meaningful information.

Prattfolio section for Pratt News.

One of the significant needs of all the stakeholders was to give Prattfolio a unique and immersive experience. Prattfolio is the magazine published by Pratt bi-yearly. It features stories by Pratt Institute, students, faculty, and much more.

Prattfolio being a section with diverse and multilayered content types, it is the only section that allows the entire width of images and videos. It is done so that the users can have a similar magazine experience on the digital screen.

To know and explore more about the wireframes, view the interactive wireframes for desktop or interactive wireframes for mobile.

Final Design

As we completed the wireframes, they were handed over to the creative services team to work on the News website's User Interface Design and Visual Design. For the final design, we had to ensure that the Visual Design reflected all the insights and needs shared by the directors and stakeholders. This News website was also a perfect project to soft launch the new visual design system for the Pratt Institute.

View the live website.

The aim was to -

  • Reflect the values of the new visual design system on the news website.
  • Make sure that the final design looks the same across all the devices.
Final website design for the Pratt News.

Take-Aways and Next Steps

As a User Experience Designer, it was an excellent experience to work with a fantastic team. This project allowed me to work with developers, communication designers, managers, stakeholders, and directors. Through this project, I was able to push my limits and expand my creative boundaries. After intense research, multiple interviews, team conversations, and endless thinking, it is good to see how the final product has come out!

As the next step to the project, we are currently reviewing the Google analytics data for the news website. With the help of this data, we are aiming to provide an even more, better experience to our users. We are also conducting user testing for the Pratt news website to understand better how the users feel about this new design. All these dates from various sources will benefit us to create an even more, better experience for the users.

Multiple desktop screens displaying the Pratt News website.

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