California Academy of Sciences
Explore Science Section

I had the opportunity to work at California Academy of Sciences as an Interaction Designer for several years. During that time I was the lead designer on their website redesign project where I also worked with Hot Studio and collaborated with department heads, senior leadership teams, web steering teams. The Explore Science section was a piece of this larger website project that showcased all our science content. It's responsive and integrated with a Drupal CMS and template system.


The science sections of the California Academy of Sciences website were outdated, disorganized, and difficult to use and was preventing the Academy from reaching their targeted audience. These sections were also not integrated with a content management system so updating pages was inefficient and limiting to an organization that was constantly growing and changing.

  • Role: UX, UI
  • Company: California Academy of Sciences
  • Year: 2014
  • Website: The California Academy of Sciences
  • Facilitated workshops with Web Steering Committee
    Gathered analytics about our existing science based platforms
    User insights
    One of our personas

    We did some lo fidelity wireframes. We needed the science sections to be flexible for both evergreen and ever changing content. The pages also had to have categories as gateways for users who are seeking specific topics and we also wanted to continue our Science Today brand that users were familiar with where we group types of news and categories.

    Wireframe for Explore Science
    Wireframe for Science News

    We looked at existing news sites The Daily Beast, Wired, CNN to understand the visual patterns and cues of how they grouped like information and told an editorial story. We used guiding design and psychology principles: white space, scrolling not paging, Hick's Law to minimize choices and provided headlines and images as visual cues for users. We wanted to surface articles that would have otherwise been buried. And grouped articles into topics. We did many versions of how best to illustrate these relationships.


    We performed Qualitative User Testing on a small group from our primary audience. We learned our users don't read they scan descriptions looking for tone, authority and scientific keywords that will make them click. This takes less time. Reiterating what our personas were interested in. The thematic curated content was working for them cause they could self select. They also wanted the themed content to be balanced with whimsical and serious.

    User Testing
    User Insights and Actions

    Science News and Explore Science section

    Explore Science Homepage
    Science News Homepage