Project: Web Design for Small Business

Sarah Marie’s Sewing School

Sarah is a movie and theatre costume designer with multiple IMDB credits, a costume design professor, and a private sewing instructor. She wanted to launch a new sewing school to provide in-person sewing lessons in her home because mobility limitations made it difficult to teach at local sewing schools and online teaching platforms took a 40% cut.

I worked with Sarah between April 2020 and June 2020. We defined these design objectives:

Design Objectives


I interviewed the client to understand her pain points, goals, and objectives and designed the business, content, and user experience strategy and the website for her new venture. My client created the content assets.

User Research

I conducted competitive analysis, user research, and customer research using contextual interviews. I used affinity diagrams to create personas.

The client expanded her business strategy based on this research. We created a phased approach to the new strategy and focused on Phase One.


I researched Wix, Weebly, Webflow, SquareSpace, and WordPress to determine a capability roadmap that would fit the phased business strategy roadmap. WordPress with plug-ins enabled the selling of pre-recorded gated online training and digital downloads.


Within WP, I developed criteria to determine the best theme, reviewed 100 themes, and presented four to the client. The client selected one. I created a prototype. The prototype did not meet the client’s visual design goals and objectives and would have led to a fragmented customer experience. I proposed a different theme and developed a prototype that met the client’s goals and objectives and provided a cohesive customer experience.


I researched visual design elements (font, color, page content) to meet WCAG requirements for a neurodiverse audience. I interviewed the client to understand her sewing studio design aesthetic to ensure a consistent experience between the website and in-person lessons.

User Testing

I partnered with to conduct mobile, tablet, and desktop user tests of the design using top tasks. Users did not find the lessons page and the reviews quickly, two of the top tasks. I changed the design to address these issues.

I conducted brand identity perception testing using a semantic differential survey. Results showed that the perception of people in the persona groups matched the desired perception.

Challenges and Learnings

Learnings from theme testing, user testing, and the semantic differential survey are highlighted above. Specific technical issues included gaining access to the CSS code without upgrading the service and complications from purchasing a domain name from a different provider than the hosting service.


Systems Thinking

Throughout I worked with the client to connect brand identity and messaging across Etsy, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Google Business to provide an integrated customer experience across channels.

Final design

The final design needed to accurately reflect the unique personality of the business owner so that anyone coming to her home would have a consistent experience. We included an entire Welcome to My Studio page and a carousel of photos of her teaching space to set the tone.

Sarah Marie’s Sewing School


Leads generated through the new website were the right amount to meet the income goals of the client and enabled her to teach from home more often.

More Details

See more details in my PowerPoint presentation on Google Drive.