Harvard Extension School offers online and on-campus courses, degrees, and professional certificates at an affordable price for working adults. The Extension School is unique from other continuing education providers, because anyone can enroll through the website; degree students earn their way in by completing three required courses before applying to a specific program.

Instead of helping students to discover the options that best fit their needs, the Extension School’s detailed policies and 700 courses overwhelmed prospects. Despite its shared faculty, rigorous curricula, and the commitment of its students, the School faced perceptions that it wasn’t the “real” Harvard.

We set out to streamline, prioritize, and integrate the Extension School’s text-heavy content, provide tools that would empower students to discover fitting options, and more closely connect the site’s visual identity to that of the University.

Informed by my content audit, I developed a site structure and list of corresponding templates, and mapped templates and content types to site pages. Meanwhile, we explored low-fidelity wireframes for a “What are you interested in?” tool that would use keyword search to surface options by area of interest.
HES academics page
My selected design concept combined the University’s neutral palette with bold, professional typography. The Academics page presents all the ways students can learn through the School. Concept revisions and design system by Dana Pavlichko.
HES academics page small screens

To vet our work and prepare for the School’s in-house implementation, I ran remote usability testing sessions of our design comps. Once the designs were revised, I drafted a document to summarize the site’s content model, taxonomy, custom Drupal panels, and recommendations for configuring back-end fields.