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City Tech Students Redesign Website for United Nations Agency

Screen shot of redesigned UNAOC website.

New York City College of Technology (City Tech) students took their talents onto the global stage by redesigning the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) website. Their work can be seen at

The five students involved in this project were members of the “Design Team” class offered by City Tech’s Department of Advertising Design & Graphic Arts. Their professor, Douglas Davis, recreates real work situations inside the classroom and one of the proposed projects was to assist UNAOC’s website.

“UNAOC’s site needed to be maximize ease of use and simplify the content displayed,” Professor Davis said. “The students had to keep in mind that the site had a truly global audience. The final design was a result of many explorations and revisions, sometimes ‘in-class’ and sometimes directly with our contact at the UNAOC, Aaron Fineman, web and multimedia manager.

Rearranging the order of the content was a key to the City Tech revitalization of the UNAOC site. “The students were challenged to organize and simplify placement of essential items in such areas as the header and footer. Challenges like integrating social media and automating regular updates were also solved,” Professor Douglas explained.

The team also created a modular main display space used as a way to draw the viewer’s eye to what is most important on the page. A scrolling image was chosen to keep things simple, yet interesting. The rest of the site is organized in a logical manner to stay consistent and easy to understand. UNAOC was given templates and style sheets for proceeding with future updates and alterations.

Kathlyn Lam with her professor, Douglas Davis.

The team members – students Matthias Blonski, Nadia Saleh, Andre Burrell, Jenny Huang and Kathlyn Lam – were dedicated to offering a viable solution. Its recommendations began during the semester under Professor Davis’ direction and implemented after the semester had ended.

“Every student played a crucial role in developing the UNAOC website, and it was great to have one of the team members intern at the organization to see it through,” Professor Davis said. Lam, who graduated earlier this month, was chosen to intern with the UNAOC to help finalize the redesign and launch of the site.

According to UNAOC’s Fineman: “I would like to add how nice it was working with Doug's Design Team class. As an intern, Kathlyn helped us with over 300 hours of her time in the spring, working on much more than just the website redesign. To say that Kathlyn has an amazing work ethic is an understatement.”

 “I am really grateful to Professor Davis and Aaron Fineman for giving us the opportunity to show our work to the real world,” said Lam. “From Aaron, I learned web skills and was inspired by the websites he created. One of the most important things I learned from doing the UNAOC website is how essential teamwork is – without my fellow students, Professor Davis and Aaron, the website wouldn’t have gotten done.”

Lam and the other students in her team now have a professional product for their portfolios, as the footer of the website states, “ was designed in collaboration with Kathlyn Lam and fellow students of Professor Douglas Davis' Design Team Class at CUNY's New York City College of Technology's ADGA Department.”


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