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Responsive Redesign for Urban Land Institute

Following a usability study in 2010, in 2011, we were engaged to redesign the flagship website of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), its Asia-Pacific regional site, and the ULI Foundation website and to help improve the usability of ULI’s ecommerce. ULI is a nonprofit research and education organization representing the entire spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines, both public and private. Founded in 1936, ULI has members in 95 countries worldwide.

The Challenge

ULI wanted to redesign for a number of reasons very common to the clients we meet:

  • Their site looked dated and static.
  • Content was poorly organized, and there was too much of it.
  • The content management system was implemented in a way content providers found too difficult to use; people resisted publishing and maintaining content.
  • There were governance problems–some content lacked ownership, and people were misusing (or not using) the site taxonomy tags, making cross-references meaningless.
  • The site was not responsive, so it was hard to use on mobile devices.

Our mantra for the project became, “Focus, Prioritize, and Simplify.”

We established the following goals for the new flagship website:

  • make it clear what ULI does, including how ULI has an impact on communities;
  • communicate what is unique and significant about ULI’s work;
  • communicate the value of engaging with ULI;
  • inspire people to engage with ULI and with each other, through ULI’s networking opportunities;
  • help recruit and retain members, customers, donors, sponsors, and advertisers;
  • support bottom-line goals with a better ecommerce user experience;
  • make web content easier for key audiences to find (especially contact info on members, and names of people in both product and district councils); and
  • make web content easier to maintain.

Our Work

Our work included strategy, information architecture, usability testing, responsive design, and governance consulting for the flagship site, Asia Pacific regional site, and ULI Foundation site. Additionally, we provided usability consulting during the development of new mobile ecommerce modules and content strategy consulting for various departments within ULI.


ULI website

Our redesign of ULI’s website

The new websites met their goals and were deemed successful communications, marketing, and member-service platforms for ULI. The flagship site design won a Graphic Design USA web design award.


Credits: Visual design: PixelGood.