Scott Schermer's Portfolio

My Role

Creative Direction
Art Direction


Penn State Extension is a site based on providing resources and courses to those in the agriculture field. PSU came to us to redesign their site addressing several pain points and wanting to upgrade their CMS to Adobe Magento 2.

Pain Points & Solutions

Key navigational items are hidden.

The current navigation only had one point of entry (menu button) with 3 tiers deep of category buckets. We broke out the first bucket to be visible on the main nav bar, then created a mega menu to have all nav items visible with only one click.

Search functionality is too confusing.

As there were two search bars, users were often confused about which one did what. Additionally it was causing issue in the back end. As search is a priority for them, we dropped the second search bar and made it a more prominent feature on the main nav.

Carousel grids are very important, but too repetitive.

The bulk of PSU’s offerings were just listed as repeating grids, which created monotony and failed to engage users. We restructured the content into more “inclusive” categories (Featured, News, Stats, Testimonials) then gave unique structures to each of those categories.

The site doesn’t really speak to who we are or what we do.

We revisited the structure of the site to “tell more of a story”. About Us was completely missing, so we created a section for that, gave the users a launching off point to get connected, showed specific featured products to allow the user to see examples of what PSU does, and included a testimonials section to bring a human aspect to everything.

Users have navigational issues on the category page.

The category page had so many random promotions and products, none of which were structured or designed to reflect what they were. Additionally, there was no flow to the page. We removed the random promotional, highlighted the side navigation, and organized the categories in a way that made sense for the user.

Knowledge of our experts doesn’t come through.

On the category page, in addition to being very convoluted, one of PSU’s key components — Experts — wasn’t being highlighted. When restructuring the page, we brought in a feature called “Meet the Experts” to give the user the ability to see how much expertise PSU has in the industry by viewing all experts based on the selected category.

Search results page is way to convoluted and confusing.

The Search Results page had so many search filters, that it was causing the users to not even bother using them. Additionally it was loaded with other promotional material that didn’t pertain to the results. We stripped down the page to the bones, added in filters that would automatically populate according to the search, then added in the ability to add custom filters based on the user’s preference.

On the backend, everything from courses, to people, to locations are “products”. We need a design system that can accommodate that.

All “Products needed to have a structure that could be used for any of them, with content added or removed as needed. So we designed 3 separate product pages, based on similar content across all “products” that could accommodate every type of content needed, and would still be usable and intuitive no matter how much information was added or removed.

Using Format