Pittsburgh Urban Christian School's Volunteer Portal

August 2010 - December 2010

The PUCS website is a product of my Information Systems Capstone Project. The challenge was to build a back-end portal for PUCS, Pittsburgh Urban Christian School, an economically diverse elementary school so that the administration and parents could communicate easily. Components of the project include: student enrollments and activities participation, teacher grade input, volunteer management, and event organization. We transformed a paper-based relationship into a digital medium by which parents could communicate with the administration, manage volunteering activities and most importantly, stay connected to their childrens' school lives.


The website is built on the Ruby on Rails framework, and I was primarily responsible for the front-end development. As the UI designer on the team, I created all the design prototypes for our client and work with them to determine the functionality they wanted. I also ensured that our designs are consistent with the older outward-facing website that had been developed by another team, as the two go hand in hand. I also performed heavy user testing as the parents that use the system are from very economically diverse groups.


The dashboard would populate based on the user's role. Bob here, is an administrator, and has the ability to create announcements and perform various actions.

Family Management

PUCS is a private school that requires parents to volunteer a certain number of hours every semester. Our portal had to be very easy to use, because the parents had various levels of expertise with a computer. Some did not even own a computer. It was important to user test our wireframes and make the registration process (the part where most users drop off), as simple as possible.


Not only were parents able to follow a streamlined process to register for volunteer activities, administrators and teachers could more-easily create volunteer events on-the-fly.


The user is not like me. It wasn't until I started speaking to the parents and administrators that I started picking up on the various types of tech-user personas.