Canadian Design Story:

Earlier this summer, a brand new design for DiscoverIT launched! A great Canadian design story is waiting to be told...


Story background is a site aimed at high-school students to help them discover career options in IT. It was first created by the Information & Communications Technology Council(ICTC) of Canada 5 years ago. Since then, many new web technologies have emerged, the ICTC corporate branding has changed, and new programs needed to be added to the website. More importantly, the old information architecture cannot meet the user needs. Therefore, it's a time for a re-design.

Design goals

Macadamian Usability team took on the challenge, and their senior usability specialist, Monique Catner, led the redesign of the site. I visited Monique in their Ottawa office and chatted with her about the project. The high level design goals for the project are:

  • Create an appealing site for high school students to discover information about IT careers and showcasing cutting-edge technology on the site
  • Provide information for parents, teachers and ministry people as well in addition to students on the site
  • Raise awareness and interest in Focus on IT (FIT) program and help teachers to organize and share information about FIT program
  • Ability to generate certificates for students that have completed the FIT program

Design Process

imageAfter talking to users and ICTC, they discovered the profile design of the old site is outdated. The three major profiles (or type of users) for the site are: students, parents, and teachers. In the old design, there are a lot of overlapping information across the three profiles, so the unique information for each profile was buried. In addition, parents will probably care about both the student and parent information in order to give better advice to their children. A profile-based site made navigating between multiple profiles hard.

Monique and her team implemented the design/usability process which integrates with standard business and technical best practices to create great user experience (see the picture on the right). In my 12-minute interview with Monique below, she shares with me how she got into the field of UX, her role for DiscoverIT project, deep dive into the information architecture of the new site and how the new IA solved the business problem and so on.


DSCN1605Monique Gatner is a senior usability specialist with over 10 years experience in user-centred design. She has worked on a diverse range of products from enterprise-wide applications to telecommunication systems, and has benefited from the experience of a wide variety of roles throughout her high-tech career. Most recently, she has worked on a variety of public and private sector projects as part of the Macadamian Usability team. She brings to the table an expertise in information architecture and design to the benefit of her clients and team members.  



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