Client: The Allen Institute for Brain Science
Year: 2014
Platform: Responsive Web


The Allen Institute for Brain Science went through a website redesign. The focus for the redesign was to communicate the vision and showcase the fantastic things they're doing for the neuroscience community. The Allen Institutes primary focus is on Big Science and Open Science.

The Allen Institute has been laying foundational work and mapping the entire brain's neural pathways; you could call it the Google maps of the mind. The brain map was a massive initiative for the Allen Institute. It's an open source platform that anyone can use to kickstart their research. Having this foundational work is significant for the neuroscience community, and we wanted to help bring more awareness to a broader audience for the great work done and other groundbreaking projects at the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

My Role

It was my responsibility to work closely with the key stakeholders and team to ensure we're aligned on the goals, direction, and outcomes of the project. My core tasks were to conduct interviews, develop assumptive personas for the intended audience, conducted a series of customer journey mapping workshop, developed the new architecture for the website and guided the other UX designer through the wire-framing process.

Our Approach

We teamed up with the key stakeholders at the Allen Institute to better understand the ask, and dug into the details for what the company is, does, and their vision. We started by conducting a series of 1:1 interviews with employees to better understand what individuals are doing, what they are passionate about, and ultimately, the culture that brought them to the Allen Institute. The insights from the cross-disciplinary interviews would serve as guidance for what type of content would surface across the website.

Assumptive Personas

From the series of interviews, we were able to pull out key insights that helped us better understand who their customers are, their needs, motivations, and pain-points are. From the researched, we identified three different personas; research publishers, product champions, and community advocates.

Sketching the user experience

Here, we dug into the content and the current site architecture to begin mapping the new page structure. After coming up with our proposed structure, we conducted a series of card sorting activities to validate our direction. Once we felt confident in our taxonomy, we dove into content mapping the pages of the website through sketching and whiteboarding.

Bringing it together

Through rapid iterations, we landed on the right story that we wanted to tell on every page of the site through a series of wireframes. From there, we started to see how it would flow across multiple platforms, desktop, tablet, and mobile.

Bringing it to life

After getting to a good spot with the UX, the visual designer started to bring it to life with visual design.  Through the process, we refined the interactions, content, and visuals to make it an even richer user experience. The results were a redesigned website that Allen Institute was proud of and told the story they've wanted to share for quite some time.