University of Tennessee Web Design System (WDS) Implementation

wds feedback overview may 2024

Role: Researcher and Liaison


In technology implementation, the focus often extends beyond technology to the people it serves. As a member of the Office of Marketing and Communication’s digital team at the University of Tennessee, I embraced the role of researcher and liaison in the evolving implementation of the Web Design System (WDS). This pivotal position allowed me to ensure our digital solutions were robust, inclusive, and user-centered. My primary responsibility was facilitating communication between the digital team and various university stakeholders, setting the stage for a thoughtful and effective deployment of the WDS.


Stakeholder Interviews and Research: Stakeholder Interviews and Research: I conducted comprehensive interviews and gathered detailed feedback from a diverse group of stakeholders, including current WDS users, campus partners (both those using and not using vendors), vendors themselves, and prospective users.

Analyzing Feedback to Guide Implementation The feedback I collected provided deep insights into our users’ complex needs and expectations. My analysis identified essential themes shaping the ongoing WDS implementation strategy, ensuring the digital team can make informed, practical decisions that address real user needs.

Reporting and Recommendations: I compiled the feedback into actionable recommendations, organized by priority, to assist the digital team in refining the WDS implementation. These recommendations are intended to serve as a roadmap for continuous improvement and adaptation of the system.


Enhanced Stakeholder Engagement: My direct engagement with stakeholders enhanced the digital team’s understanding of different user groups’ unique needs and expectations, fostering a collaborative atmosphere critical for successful implementation.

Informed Decision-Making: The insights derived from my research enable the digital team to undertake data-driven decision-making, which is crucial for tailoring the WDS to effectively meet both practical and strategic needs.

Smooth Implementation: Acting as a liaison, I helped bridge gaps between technical and non-technical stakeholders, which is vital for enabling a smoother transition and broader acceptance of the WDS.


The University of Tennessee’s support in enabling me to conduct this vital research and stakeholder engagement underscores their commitment to a stakeholder-centric approach and proactive stewardship in digital initiatives. This support is fundamental in ensuring that the WDS, still in its pilot phases with ongoing refinements, will meet and hopefully exceed user expectations.

Bridging Understanding

My role in this project has been instrumental in translating complex stakeholder feedback into actionable insights for the digital team. This effort is about achieving technical milestones and fostering an environment where every stakeholder feels heard and valued. As the WDS moves forward, the foundation we’ve built together will continue to guide its evolution, aiming to create a system that truly reflects the needs and aspirations of the University community.

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