Cambridge Academic

Redesigning the archive of feminist literary history

Role

UX/UI Designer

Timeline

Feb - Aug 2020

Link

www.orlando.cambridge.org.com

Overview

The Orlando Project is the world’s largest database of women’s writing in the British Isles. Collated over nearly three decades of academic research, the archive is a well of knowledge on feminist literary history.

Without the right tools, this growing digital archive was becoming unusable, so the client decided to bring additional UX/UI expertise on board to support the website redesign.

Over a six month period, I worked on the structure, functionality and appearance of the six priority page templates, enhancing the search capabilities and aligning the experience with Orlando’s parent organisation, Cambridge Academic.

Homepage of the old Orlando Project website

My role

I was the lead UX/UI designer, closely collaborating with a small in-house team of researchers and developers. I joined the project at the wireframing stage, conducted two rounds of usability testing and led on the creation of the user interface design and the accompanying style guide.

Process
Wireframes

In the first stage of the project, I created and tested high-fidelity wireframes for the six priority page templates:

  • Homepage: the gateway into the digital archive, it needed to support both casual users exploring the content as well as researchers looking for specific references.

  • Entry page: the most commonly used template, it defines how each catalogue entry is presented on the site. It’s an umbrella for a number of sub-pages, such as the timeline, list of literary works, connections and so on. It enables users to easily navigate long text entries, view images and rich media, explore linked entries, and annotate and save content.

  • Browse: first route into the discovery journey presenting content grouped by category, such as people, places, genres and so on.

  • Explore: an alternative route into the content discovery journey, this page presents a random selection of database entries, and can be filtered by category, location, period and more.

  • Search: unlike Browse and Explore, which are aimed at new or casual users discovering the database content without a specific end result in mind, search with its powerful filtering capabilities helps researchers locate a specific catalogue entry.

  • Connections: unique to the Orlando Project, this interactive page allows users to explore the complex web of connections between the various catalogue entries.

Wireframe for the most commonly used template - entry page

Wireframe for the Browse page that allows to explore site content by category

Wireframe for the Explore page that presents a random selection of database entries

Wireframe for Connections page that allows users to explore the complex web of connection between the catalogue entries

UI design

Once the structure, functionality and content of the templates were finalised, I created two variations of the interface design. The layout, typography and navigation were based on The Orlando Project’s parent organisation Cambridge Academic, and I used colour, images and interactive principles to give the site a unique brand identity.

Two stylistic directions for the website UI

Once the client chose their preferred stylistic direction, I applied it to the remaining page templates.