Virginia Humanities, the Commonwealth of Virginia's humanities council, was looking for a complete redesign of 7 websites: the overarching parent site ( and 6 of its program websites - Virginia Festival of the Book, Virginia Center for the Book, Virginia Folklife, History United, With Good Reason (radio program), and African American Cultural Resources Task Force.
The live websites may be viewed at the following links:
Virginia Humanities -
With Good Reason (Radio Program) -
Virginia Festival of the Book -
Virginia Folklife -
History United -
Virginia Center for the Book -
Virginia African American Cultural Resources Task Force -
The Challenge 
The scope of this undertaking was wide. Our work entailed: a complete restructuring of every website’s taxonomy, architecture and content strategy; developing functional requirements to meet the unique needs of each site; maintaining and extending the client’s visual identity; redesign of all 7 websites; prototyping custom-built functionality and integrations; development and testing of each site; meeting the accessibility requirements of the state and University of Virginia; and training.
As Design Director, I had to be involved in every aspect of this project: regular client communications and presentations, developing IA, creating design concepts, writing up requirements documentation, art directing our design team, overseeing our dev team, and helping direct regular scum meetings and sprints.
Through organizational meetings with the Board and program heads and interviews and regular meetings with each individual program’s staff, we developed personas to help understand the needs, behaviors, and goals of each site’s users. We drafted requirements to ensure we were helping create sites that would increase the efficiency of day-to-day operations.
Making Old Things News
The old network of website’s carried with them over 100 plugins that were installed over years of use, creating security and performance issues. By working closely with the client and coming up with smart solutions, we were able to develop features into the CMS of each site that reduced this list of plugins by over two-thirds.
Because the IA of each site had to be restructured, we had to create a clear strategy for database migration. Import scripts and clean-up scripts were developed to help with each site’s unique migration challenges.
A Network of Websites
One unique feature of this project was the need to create 7 websites that operated individually and collectively. A shared taxonomy was implemented on all 7 sites to allow for easy content sharing between them. This allowed us to implement helpful content management features: like the ability for an admin user to control posts that could be pushed out from program sites into the parent website; or for a team/user profiles area that could be managed in one place and pushed out to all program sites. 

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