City of Ann Arbor, MI

Web Design Project

Project Background

City of Ann ArborThe City of Ann Arbor’s website was outdated and in need of a complete makeover. It was very hard for citizens or visitors to find their specific information. Being nearly a decade old, it was clunky, not responsive design, and built on old technology. It definitely had a dated look.

The City hired a great IA group (The Understanding Group) to complete the discovery and strategy phases. Their deliverable was a complete set of nine wireframes.

The City’s RFP was specific to deliver beautifully designed pages, built as fully ADA compliant, working frontend templates.

We knew The Understanding Group to be fully competent information architecture strategists and felt comfortable taking the reins from them. Our biggest potential hurdle was going to be potential City bureaucracy and working to ensure that the project was done in a timely manner. Between working with a municipality and multiple committees, we knew we needed to facilitate a strong collaborative effort.

The Project Approach

The very first step taken by the project manager was to define roles and responsibilities. In our first meeting we asked for clarification of the ultimate City decision maker and everyone’s specific project role.

This took the project’s timeline back one full month while the City staff worked through defining their roles and responsibilities. Had we not asked for clarification, we believe the project could have dragged for months-on-end, as we wallowed in chaos without a clear decision maker moving it forward. This project’s hinged on the acceptance of a new web design. Clarifying the decision maker illuminated our path with everyone on the same page.

Our design phase included a small focus group to ensure a good user experience for low vision and color blind website visitors. Once we had all 9 templates designed and accepted, our coders created ADA compliant, responsive templates, using bootstrap, XHTML, and CSS.


Everyone loves the new website!

It’s really easy to find anything at all. This team effort was a huge success, all the way around.

Once we had clarification on roles and responsibilities, the Keystone team was able to focus on doing a great job. Our designer, Casey delivered two incredible designs for which either would have been excellent choices. The City was able to quickly select one with amazingly minor changes. Having such an awesome design selection to choose from, signoff was easy for them. Everyone was in agreement.

The project was delivered on time and in budget.

What a fun success story!