Northwest Film Forum

Project Overview

This is a case study I worked on with a team of three people for one of my graduate courses. We were tasked with evaluating and redesigning a section of the Northwest Film Forum's website. The Northwest Film Forum is a nonprofit film and arts center located in Seattle, and their website showcases local films and offers resources for people looking to become filmmakers.

The business goal: Increase traffic to the filmmaking page.

Our user goals: Learn how to get started in filmmaking, connect with others interested in filmmaking, and have access to free or affordable resources and filming equipment.

Role: Content strategist, User researcher

March - June 2017

Project type:
Group project​​​​​​​ for graduate course

User Persona

User Interviews

I interviewed four people who fit our user group to figure out what kind of filmmaking content and resources they would be looking for online.

notable quotes

Opportunities for improvement
Online resources could be easier to locate. The user could feel really overwhelmed at certain parts because there is so much information to learn and they might not have enough time to search through everything on the internet.

Some resources could be providing the user information on who to contact and a simplified database of information about filmmaking, so the user can find everything they need in one place.

Biggest pain points

By creating an online community of people who are interested in filmmaking, the user can feel more confident getting started as a filmmaker.

Content Audit

Our goal with the content audit was to determine the effectiveness of the Filmmaking section of NWFF's website by using the following criteria: Is it up to date? Is it findable? Does it use clear language? Is it scannable and readable?

From the results, my team and I determined the following:

Competitive Analysis

I completed a competitive analysis of three websites that were similar to the Northwest Film Forum; The Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Institute, and Rotten Tomatoes.

What worked well

  • Clean and simple navigation makes it easy for users to find what they are looking for and understand the information presented on the page.
  • As you scroll down the main page of programs, the sticky navigation automatically highlights what part you are looking at. This can help users keep track of where they are on the site.
  • Movie posters showing the percentage score of ratings underneath the image helps users get a quick overview before having to click on anything.
  • For movie reviews, you can click on the person’s icon who wrote the review and learn more about their movie likes and dislikes. This makes it helpful to understand why the person wrote their review and can provide more insight to the users.

What didn't work well

  • The landing pages displayed additional information on a new page, instead of showing that content on the same page. This causes the user to leave the page to find more information and continue to go back and forth between the two pages.
  • Too much information is displayed on the first page of programs and workshops. It can be overwhelming for the user to look at all of this information on one page.
  • For movie reviews, the Super Reviewers were prioritized. I would like to see people’s reviews who are regular reviewers. “Super Reviewer” might confuse users into thinking that person got paid to write a review. It would be better to mix up the reviews to make it seem fair and unbiased.


Different Iterations for Hi-Fi Wireframes


On my first iteration I designed the full landing page for the Filmmaking section. I included all of the elements from the earlier wireframes. My final project only required low-fidelity wireframes so everything from here on was completed on my own.

After revisiting this project a few months later, I noticed that the way the elements were organized didn't make much sense and I also wanted to change up the look. I felt that it didn't look very professional, so people might not trust the website.


This was my second iteration. I only designed above the fold and included some of the elements from the earlier wireframes.

After getting feedback on this design, I learned that this page still resembles a lower fidelity wireframe so I went back to designing to begin to elevate the look and feel.


This is my third and final version for this project. I revisited this a couple months after my second iteration. I created the full landing page, going off of the elements I had in my first and second versions.

I wanted the landing page to look modern, trustworthy, and full of resources to offer users. I added a minimal color palette and typography to put the focus on the content.


Since this was a class project, there was no budget and not much time to complete everything. My team and I made sure to work as efficiently as we could by assigning each person tasks to be responsible for. We had multiple check points as a group where we came together and shared notes on what we had completed, and incorporated them into our final project presentation. We were able to help each other out if someone got stuck, and see the different outcomes of our research.

Final Thoughts

After conducting user research to learn more about the audience for Northwest Film Forum, I created an updated landing page for the filmmaking section. By creating a minimal color palette and focusing on the content, users will be much more likely to achieve their goals of understanding the basics of filmmaking and having access to affordable and free resources.

© Melody Sabouri 2019