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PSI: Launching a New Visual Identity & UX Web Design

PSI needed a partner who could capture their visual identity and fully redesign and develop their website.
blue element web design agency

Background

Testing company PSI powers the world’s leading tests. They offer career-based certifications, higher education testing, and tests for licensure that can either be sponsored or taken through their website. Their mission is to create tests that are test-taker focused and created with trusted science. They’ve also received awards for test advancements related to equitable testing and post-pandemic adaptations for talent management.

PSI already knew where their pain points were: Their page designs were outdated and inconsistent, the website was not well constructed or easy to manage for the marketing team, and possibly most detrimental of all: the user experience was confusing. So PSI’s team sought out help to solve the issues. They thought it was mostly solved—until it came to the visual design

The partnership between PSI and Solid Digital was a unique one—having worked with a previous digital marketing agency, PSI came to Solid Digital with a full sitemap, all their content, and complete wireframes. But they still needed a visual design—perhaps more importantly, they needed a partner who could capture their visual identity and fully redesign and develop their website. They needed an elevated design with modern branding that could: 1) Align with their messaging; 2) convert more quality leads; and 3) be easy to update without external help. 

PSI had reorganized their sites, having originally housed both talent management and credentialing content—creating two very different experiences on the previous site. And coming from a poor outcome from a past experience, PSI wanted to move forward. Solid Digital swooped in and saved the day, to create a visual design that clicked with the client’s feedback.

Approach

This unique project required a bit of working backwards. PSI had come to Solid Digital after working with another agency, and came with documentation, stakeholder interviews, competitor analysis (and more). Many of the typical learn and discovery parts were already there. But the design hadn’t caught up yet. So, Solid Digital dug into the current and past states of the site, taking close looks at the old and new design work from the previous agency. 

After the pain points had been revealed, the teams solidified the goals:

  • Elevate the design and branding to be modern and exciting with cohesion between messaging and design 
  • Tell a clear brand story conveying new messaging; showcase PSI as an industry leader and differentiate its value 
  • Build a more powerful lead generation tool—improve UX to provide clear strategic journeys to guide users through the funnel (converting quality leads)
  • Make the site easy to navigate and guide users well: (guide test takers to tests on psiexams.com, and push test sponsors to contact PSI)
  • Build a site with best practices in mind (e.g. strong SEO) and make it easy to update

The website was confusing for the user, evidenced by test takers filling out test sponsor forms, and test sponsors unsure of where to go. The new site had to ensure effective user pathways. The site also needed to be consolidated, as it previously had both talent management and credentialing housed there. Solid Digital made sure testing was the focus of this site, so that it could be more specific (and much clearer) to test takers and test sponsors as separate audiences. Test sponsors were pointed to overview pages with “contact us” CTAs.

Process

With such a unique project, it was vital to set up the structure and organize the site well—even if the wireframes and research had already been developed and completed. Solid’s team took care to avoid the same pitfalls as the previous agency by basing designs off of the developed wireframes and research, while taking every bit of feedback that PSI’s team had to give.
The old site was loaded with content, and organizing the site for two different audiences (and therefore two different UX journeys) was an extra challenge, too.

Design

Overall, PSI wanted the design to be fun—more so than the typical scholarly testing site. So they took it a few steps beyond the regular collegiate, early-00’s university vibe, and looked for a unique layout rather than a typical template look. Their forward-thinking tone of voice embodied empathy, passion, and the encouragement needed for test takers trying to improve their livelihood through career-based testing and certifications. 

Visually, Solid Digital worked with splashes of color (blue and yellow) and added in modern layers to create a clean, easy, and calming approach to welcome site visitors through. The very minimal use of a full-color background helped avoid any pushy or frenzied feel, as well. Solid’s team also took care to ensure full DEI representation in the photography on the site.

Working Together

Solid Digital spent much of the time reviewing and analyzing the work that had already been accomplished: approved copy, keyword research, tone of voice, wireframes, customer interviews, competitor analysis, to name a few. Once they felt they understood the ideas behind each decision already made, it helped Solid’s team bridge the gap between the wireframes and the visual identity that had been the previous agency’s roadblock. Solid offered up three different visual identity options and created a home page mock up design to further flesh out the design goals for PSI’s visual refresh.

Challenges

With multiple stakeholders, each with varying levels of participation, Solid Digital had to ensure they reached everyone’s goals with the project. With some goals changing mid-project, Solid Digital kept everything on track by finding tradeoffs; for example, instead of a complex and more expensive search tool, they found a simpler solution that fit within PSI’s budget and project deadlines. Every item of the agenda was measured against whether it would ensure that the design was exactly what PSI wanted. If it didn’t add up to design success, it was worked around.

With the website being so large, it was a big project. And working within wireframes that were handed over from another agency required a rethinking of Solid Digital’s typical website redesign strategy. 

Results

The overall process of this website redesign project was far different—and Solid Digital was dropped into the middle of an atypical scenario. But both teams tackled it with confidence and a collaborative approach and the results were an aligned brand and design and an updated look and feel, with identified pathways for two clear audiences.

Post launch, PSI can make needed updates in-house, without having to rely on any third parties. Consolidating the necessary information helped smooth out the content so that the modernized design can shine through and the website can bring high scores (whether in SEO or marketing team kudos) to everyone involved.

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