A Human-centered Design Firm

How might we design a more compassionate and inclusive planet?


Founded in 2007

Story+Structure is a human-centered design firm. We design experiences that create impact in health & human services, diversity & inclusion, and education.


Our Work Together

The scope of our work with the California State University has spanned a variety of focus areas as noted in the many case studies provided below.

In broad terms, we have helped to enrich student life while assisting the CSU in bolstering its brand and maximizing its mission impact.

As we continue this work, we look forward to growing our partnership with the CSU in 2019 and beyond by leveraging our expertise in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The CSU, through its stated commitment to “Inclusive Excellence” and its “Graduation Initiative 2025” is striving to close achievement gaps and increase completion rates for underserved and low income students in what is already the most ethnically, economically and academically diverse student body in the nation.

At Story+Structure, we look forward to being a key partner in helping the university and its students to achieve these goals.


Our Most Recent CSU Engagements


Creating a student-centered culture

CSU Fullerton

Extended Education and International Programs & Global Engagement (UEE/IGPE) at CSU Fullerton was seeking to develop a more student-centered culture that aligned with broader institutional priorities. Story+Structure led a series of design thinking activities that strengthened leadership, marketing, recruiting, critical transactions, and the classroom experience.

Highlights include:

  • Led a strategic planning retreat leadership

  • Customer experience analysis to understand existing approaches, perceptions, risk and readiness

  • Salesforce implementation

  • Performance benchmarking and finance review


Preparing for the future

CSU Stanislaus

University Extended Education at CSU Stanislaus wished to launch a new CRM system to enhance its recruiting effort. To prep for this sizable investment, Story+Structure led a discovery engagement that helped Stanislaus understand students wants, needs, and outcomes. This established requirements, mitigated risk, and prepared roadmap to guide the launching of a CRM system.

Highlights include:

  • Mapping out student wants, needs, and outcomes

  • Creation of Strategic Roadmap for student-centered CRM Implementation


Creating a new student experience

CSU East Bay

Story+Structure helped East Bay’s University Extension tackle several initiatives designed to create a new student experience. We designed an integrated online experience which included: public-facing website, Salesforce CRM, customized student registration & payment system, and PeopleSoft.

Highlights include:

  • Improved student satisfaction at key transaction points by removed barriers to registration by developing a custom shopping cart registration system that integrated with Cascade, Salesforce, and PeopleSoft

  • Results ~ Almost 700% increase in program inquiries; and over 30% increase in revenue


A Strategic Roadmap

San Jose State

The College of International and Extended Studies sought Story+Structure’s help to evaluate its student experience and online presence. Our work together helped identify opportunities to enhance the overall user experience by becoming more student-centered and leveraging relationships with other colleges of the campus.

Highlights include:

  • Comparative Analysis, Brand Analysis, and User Experience Analysis

  • Created Strategic Roadmap for transforming to a student-centered, experience driven organization


Prototyping the Future

CSU Dominguez Hills

CSU Dominguez Hills Extended University was seeking to modernize its online services. One critical need was a lack of an online registration & payment system. Story+Structure developed a strategic roadmap that captured the current service experience and identified pain points and opportunities. We built and tested several prototypes that guided the path forward.

Highlights include:

  • Created Strategic Roadmap for a new student services & experience

  • Prototyped registration & payments solutions to help realize $1.2 mil in revenue opportunity as identified by leadership


brand + experience strategy

Sacramento State

As Sacramento State’s College of Continuing Education prepared to improve its online services, it paused to ask “why are we here?” as crucial next step. Story+Structure and Continuing Education worked together to develop a brand experience strategy that aligned its organization to deliver an intentional student experience.

Highlights include:

  • Created Strategic Roadmap for a new student services & experience

  • Developed brand experience strategy that defined core beliefs, positioning, services, personality and brand promise


Recruitment Strategy

CSU Channel Islands

Extended University at CSU Channel Islands partnered with Story+Structure to design and implement an improved student experience based on a clearer CSUCI brand vision and recruitment strategy including Salesforce CRM.

Highlights include:

  • Created Strategic Roadmap for a new student services & experience

  • Salesforce implementation


We help you create engaging experiences


Service Design

Designer Charles Eames stated: “Eventually, everything connects.” We believe these connections are the key to delivering an engaging experience. From front-of-house experiences to back-of-house infrastructure, we help you think holistically and intentionally about every single touchpoint along your student & staff journey.

Product Design

Since 2007, we have built systems to support services and offerings in higher education including: course registration & payment, academic catalog management, HR management, admissions portal, ERP integration (PeopleSoft, Banner, Colleague), and public-facing web and mobile experiences.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We work with you to create an inclusive & equitable services and products that support diverse communities. Our work aligns the needs of your students, staff, and community with your organization’s mission, vision, and goals.


Our Higher Education Client List


Eventually everything connects–people, ideas, objects… the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.

—Charles Eames


How can we help you?


Tom Knoll, Business Development

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