Waterfront Navigator 

New York City Economic Development Corporation


Art Direction and Design

UI/UX, Wireframes


The Waterfront Navigator project is a new online resource to help guide users through the process of applying for a permit to develop along New York City's waterfront.

Obtaining a permit to build on the waterfront of New York City is a complicated task, requiring the approval of five agencies at the city, state and federal levels. These agencies, working with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, saw immense value in creating a “one-stop” resource, where all information relevant to waterfront permitting could reside in one easy-to-navigate website. Denials to permits are often due to incompleteness of the application, and this website sought to guide the applicants, as well as help the agencies.

In my capacity as Art Director and Designer, I created an information-rich site that combines clean design and thoughtful logic to help make the permitting process for development along the shores of New York City a more streamlined undertaking.


The Challenge

The Waterfront Navigator's challenge was not only in design, but in its taxonomy and terms. The struggle to align the language and regulatory goals of five agencies to one another translated to how successfully the site could help the layman user to decode the process and submit a complete and correct permit. 

This site provides and entirely new resource, compiling the requirements and guides of the most common development projects of all the issuing agencies in one place. We condensed material from many sources and eliminated agency specific jargon in favor of simple, direct language. 


The Process

Working with an information architect and writer, I developed clickable wireframes that emphasized the most common projects, questions, and an overview of the process.

I designed interactive tools, and timelines to help applicants better understand the permitting process and what an application for their project might require. I added lists of easily scannable titles, for the user to find their specific projects. 

I added flat designs to the clickable wireframes to serve as a testable prototype. We had an array of potential users from development organizations to a ferry boat captain test and give us extensive and valuable feedback. After testing, I responded to the feedback with an amended design: rearranged tiles, clarified language, and simplified dense sections to include more scannable information. 

I designed a library of icons to add visual cues to the information, and developed a typographic system with large and clear titles, and gave the denser information plenty of breathing room for better comprehension.