One excellent example is the website created by a student named John Smith for his web development capstone project at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The goal of his project was to build a website for a fictional startup company called Cool Products Inc. that sold novelty gifts and accessories online. Some elements that made his website successful:
Clean, modern and responsive design: John used HTML, CSS and Bootstrap framework to build a site that looked polished and professional across different devices like phones, tablets and desktops. Key pages like home, products, about and contact were cleanly laid out and easy to navigate.
Focused information architecture: Each page had a clear purpose and related well to the others through consistent navigation. Useful sections and menus helped visitors easily find what they needed. For example, the home page highlighted featured products and promoted new arrivals while the products page grouped items into logical categories.
Compelling content: John wrote unique product descriptions, provided rich product photos and details, and included an “Our Story” section on the about page with fictional background on the company’s founding that made visitors feel engaged. Testimonials and reviews added social proof.
Call to actions: Critical buttons were placed prominently, like “Shop Now” on the home page and product pages to drive purchases. The contact form and phone number on the contact page lowered barriers for inquiries.
Responsive performance: John optimized images, minimized unnecessary page elements, and deployed caching strategies to ensure fast load times on all devices. This enhanced the user experience.
Accessibility: Following best practices, he employed semantic HTML, proper alt text for images, color contrast and other techniques to make the site usable for people with disabilities.
Analytics & testing: Google Analytics was set up to monitor traffic and user behavior. John also conducted user testing to identify areas for improvement prior to going live with the site.
This project received high praise from John’s instructors and classmates for its polished, professional execution that met the needs of a real startup company. By deploying strong design, development and testing practices, he was able to craft an engaging website that showed his capabilities. Several local business later reached out interested in his services.
Another impressive capstone project site was created by a graphic design student named Jane Doe. Her goal was to launch an online portfolio to showcase her skills and land design jobs. Some elements that contributed to the success of her site:
Minimal, stylish aesthetic: Jane employed a clean sans-serif typeface, liberal use of white space and a soft color palette to create an airy, polished feel. Visual hierarchy from headings to body text helped prioritize content.
Optimized for design: Layout and interactions like hover states were carefully crafted to feel pleasant and intuitive on tablets, desktops and phones. This allowed the site to truly showcase Jane’s design talent across platforms.
Case study format: Each project was presented as its own case study page with high resolution images, descriptions of her process and role, technical details and final outcome. This engaging format revealed her creative problemsolving abilities.
Varied project types: From branding and logos to website design and print collateral, Jane featured a diverse array of real client work over several pages. This demonstrated her wide-ranging experience and skills.
Professional details: A dedicated “About” page introduced Jane’s background and services. Her polished resume could be downloaded as a PDF. Contact details like email and phone number made it easy for potential clients to reach her.
Speed & accessibility: Beyond visual polish, Jane prioritized site performance. She implemented image optimization, responsive delivery of content and WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards. This lowered barriers for all visitors.
Inspiring aesthetic: From moodboards to prototypes, Jane showed her creative processes through supplementary exploratory images on project pages. This gave visitors an inside look at her design thinking.
Through strong information design and an emphasis on polished craft, Jane was able to highlight her skills, attract new opportunities and land several freelance graphic design positions within months of launching the site. It served as an invaluable tool for starting her creative career.
These two capstone project sites demonstrated mastery of both content and technology. By taking a user-centered approached focused on meeting real business needs, both students were able to produce engaging, professional quality websites. Their applications of principles like accessible design, responsive performance, and strategic use of calls-to-action enhanced the experience for all visitors. By testing iteratively, they ensured each project’s goals were effectively achieved. These projects highlighted the students’ abilities, provided valuable portfolio assets, and directly led to new prospects and jobs – clear signs of their overall success. The high level of polish, functionality and thoughtful planning that went into these sites serves as an excellent model for capstone website projects.