Skip to main content

NCSBN

We're proud to have worked with NCSBN to modernize their web presence and add engaging, interactive features.

Client

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing is a non-profit association whose members include boards of nursing and regulatory bodies from across the U.S.

View the Timeline

Solution

Over the course of multiple projects with NCSBN, Sparkbox has reorganized and redesigned their website and created an interactive timeline to illustrate the history of the organization. Our work has focused on content, user experience, design, and frontend development.

Scope

  • Design system
  • Website strategy
  • Design
  • Development
  • Usability testing and wireframes for the resource library section of ncsbn.org
  • Wireframes and interaction design for timeline.ncsbn.org

Tech

  • Multi-product pattern library

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing Case Study

In celebration of their 40th anniversary, NCSBN refreshed their brand. Next, they wanted to redesign NCSBN.org and update their interactive timeline with the new look and feel. We'd worked alongside them for years on a previous incarnation of their website, and they reached out to us again to design and develop the frontend for both of these experiences. NCSBN, an early adopter of design systems, wanted a library of frontend components that they could use to create other pages and templates for ncsbn.org without having to start from scratch.

First, we got to work on the redesign and came up with several design approaches. Through discussion and close collaboration with NCSBN, we refined a direction into design comps. While design was underway, we reached out to their membership and conducted a round of usability testing on some new UX concepts for a resource library. Once our approach was finalized, we dove into the code, building flexible frontend components for their design system. We used Drizzle to expose the design system code and also to store the documentation so that their team could easily integrate everything into their content management system.

The Need: An Interactive Timeline

NCSBN's original interactive timeline lived on a page of their website and had been built before the widespread adoption of mobile devices. Now, NCSBN wanted a mobile-friendly timeline that was experiential and engaging. While it would live as a microsite, the timeline would share the same brand feel as their newly redesigned website and also be managed by their CMS. They planned to reuse the existing content architecture, copy, images, and videos and simply add recent milestones.

Timeline User Experience & Design

Our team reviewed the existing interactive timeline, taking note of the information architecture, identifying common content sections, and assessing the amount of information and assets in each section. Their original timeline started with the current year and worked back in timeā€”but because of their robust history, we proposed an approach that would have a homepage to introduce and show highlights from each time period. Visitors could quickly get a fuller sense of NCSBN's contributions to nursing and dig deeper into the content that most interested them (or all of it!).

We brainstormed modern ways to experience the information with scrolling and animations and developed navigation concepts for the timeline website that made use of the full screen width of the page. We created low-fidelity mockups to illustrate what we were thinking, and NCSBN chose the direction that best met their needs.

Writing on the wall with printouts of the existing site
Printing out the pages of the existing timeline site gave us a better overview of the content and informed us as we re-structured the site to help it flow better.
Overview of the website interactive prototype design
An overview of the final design direction and interactive prototype.

From there, the design team applied NCSBN's new brand via the design system that was created for NCSBN.org's redesign. The team crafted a look that was sophisticated and encouraged exploration through clear navigation and animation. We wanted NCSBN's visitors to easily access six major time periods and be able to jump around in time to see the accomplishments of their colleagues and the major milestones of the organization. For this, we used an elegant timeline that ran along the left side of the year pages.

But because it is an interactive timeline, we also wanted to provide a way to page through from one period to the next and experience the story of NCSBN as it happened. For this, we added "next" and "previous" navigation at the end of each time period.

The sidebar navigation of the NCSBN Timeline website
The sidebar navigation on the time period pages allows users to quickly navigate between pages.

To encourage movement through the timeline, we created subtle animations, including a bouncing arrow on the homepage encouraging visitors to scroll for more. All of these decisions were made with a light touch so that the content remained at the forefront.

Timeline Development

As with design, we started development by reusing the patterns and components that were developed for the redesign's design system. We also extended the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code where needed to support the timeline's visual aesthetic.

By examining web analytics, we knew that many of NCSBN's visitors used Internet Explorer 11. So we made sure that the same animations and modern browser features (such as sticky headers) worked for these users. And we took a progressive enhancement approach to optimization to ensure that most visitors would have a great experience regardless of their connection speed and chosen browser.

Once we completed frontend coding, we provided NCSBN's team with templates and the updated components in their Drizzle design system. Their team integrated the frontend code with their CMS, and we supported them along the way, tweaking components and styles as needed. NCSBN's team then migrated their content to the CMS and built out the timeline website.

A look at the new NCSBN Timeline design

Results

Newly refreshed, this beautiful timeline website celebrates NCSBN's accomplishments and contributions to nursing. By building on the design patterns and components originally developed for the redesign of their main website, we were able to rapidly develop the timeline while also making the design feel special and celebratory within the bounds of NCSBN's brand.

Want to talk about how we can work together?

Katie can help

A portrait of Director of Business Development, Katie Jennings.

Katie Jennings

Director of Business Development