Design Process


A website design project is a collaborative effort between CLA Communications, CLA Information Technology, and the department, or center, team (or individual) responsible for maintaining the website. The scheduling of design/redesign queue is largely decided by CLA Communications and CLA Information Technology, however feel free to contact us to request that a website be added to the queue. The project covers everything from purpose, audience, goals, focus groups, content inventory/audit, search engine optimization, design iteration, training, usability testing, and accessibility compliance. Depending on the volume of content the project is generally expected to take between five to six months to complete, though very large sites will likely take between six months to a year. On this page you will find all of the forms, tools, files, timeline, and other information needed throughout the project.


The project is a significant commitment (for all parties) and will require the following from the department/center:

  • 2 or more people from the department/center dedicated to the project throughout the entire process
  • 3 - 10 months
    Timeline (6 milestones)


CLA Information Technology will provide special access to these tools as necessary throughout the project.


Milestone One

2 weeks


At the start of every project we help you identify the purpose, goals, audience, and key messages of the website. This is a crucial step in order to ensure the success of the project, and is a prerequisite to scheduling the project kick-off meeting.

Milestone Two

3 - 4 weeks


Once we have a broad understanding of the purpose, goals, audience, and key messages, we help guide you in streamlining your content organization. The most important quality of a good higher education website is the ability to convey the information to the user in a clear and accessible manner. Often, this means creating new and improved information architecture and navigation.

Milestone Three

6 - 8 weeks


The best design transforms your content into a powerful information source with an accompanying, but not overpowering, visual appeal. It’s important to create a friendly and interesting site that keeps users engaged and comfortable with coming back for information.

Milestone Four

3 - 6 months


Site Build

The site build milestone encompasses implementation of the content into pages on the new website using design patterns created during the design milestone. This is a collaborative effort between the department/center and CLA Information technology to lay out content in a way that is visually engaging, consistent with the CLA VBL, and meets the goals of the website and each page.

We also develop the custom code necessary to realize the unique design of the website, and any custom functionality, adhering to industry standards and best practice.

Milestone Five

2 - 3 weeks

Soft Launch

Once we have a working model of the new website, it’s important to make sure the content, design, and programming all work together to produce a quality product that provides an enjoyable user experience. The Soft Launch allows for all involved parties the opportunity to make final edits to website content prior to the official launch.

Milestone Six

1 day (scheduled ahead of time)



The most exciting step is revealing all our collective hard work to the world with a fresh and interesting new site.