Quiet Lightning
A case study for a redesign of a San Francisco-based literary arts non-profit
Information Architecture
Visual Design


This is a UX case study for a responsive site I designed for Quiet Lightning, as part of Designlab’s UX Academy, focusing on information architecture and visual design.

Quiet Lightning is a San Francisco literary arts non-profit. They self-publish a monthly journal, solicit submissions and curate monthly author readings in the form of what they call “literary mixtapes.” 

QL’s stakeholders needed a revamped, responsive website, for desktop and mobile. They were looking to improve the following aspects of their site: 

  1. Make author submission CTAs more prominent and accessible
  1. Make donation CTAs more prominent and compelling
  1. Improve overall information architecture and navigation
  1. Surface QL’s associated literary events calendar - Litseen for easier access
  1. Streamline Visual Design based on existing look and feel

The new QL site’s audience -
  • Writers in the San Francisco community looking to submit their work and connect with a literary community
  • Potential donors seeking to financially support a lit-arts organization

My role

  • Researched and developed the new site for QL
  • Reorganized their IA
  • Original visual design to complement their existing brand


80 hours, 4 weeks


Research Goals

  • Learn about non-profit lit arts scene in the Bay Area
  • Determine responsive site best practices of sister orgs’

Research Methods

  1. Market research + competitor analysis
  1. User research + in-person interviews*
  • *3 interviewees, all writers, each with varying editing/curatorial experience

Market Research Findings 

Similar orgs receiving substantial funding:
  • Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center (SPT)
  • 826 Valencia
  • The Moth

Donor needs 
  • Make a difference in their community
  • Feel directly connected to arts scene
  • Perks!