Here’s a pretentious piece of jargon for you: “Affinity sorting.” It means “Writing stuff on post-it notes, sticking them on the wall and then grouping similar ones together.” And it’s a hugely useful exercise for prioritising content on websites.
Last week, Mark and I ran affinity sorting exercises with teams from Human Resources and Courses and Conferences to try to understand their needs for the new embl.org. Embl.org needs to serve all departments and groups at EMBL. The aim is to empower teams to look after their own sections of the website and to keep their content fresh and updated. And it’s a chance not only to improve content, but also the systems and processes behind the website. So we’re meeting people early in the project, and trying hard to understand their priorities.
Recently we did a two-week sprint with Jon, Peter, Maged and Liang of the EBI web team. They helped us set up the technical infrastructure to prepare the first landing pages for the new embl.org.
What are the landing pages again?
Landing pages are the beginnings of the new EMBL website, embl.org. They will serve as a single place for users to find a mix of aggregated and editorially curated content on a particular topic.
For example, the top search terms on Google analytics for EMBL over the past year include the words “jobs”, “press”, “pepcore” and “cancer”. Some of these have pages on the current website, others do not. The aim of the landing pages is to provide: a place for these searches to land, a better experience for the user searching for a particular topic, and a starting point for a deeper journey through embl.org. Continue reading “Landing pages: Sprinting towards embl.org”
This has been another very productive month. As images tell more than words: have a look at our visual output in the last thirty days.
For more inspiration and regular updates, follow us on instagram: design_embl.
“Show, don’t tell” has been one of our principles since the first sprint. So we’re going to share some of the 80 or so production requests that we handle every month. All of the visuals below were created in September 2018 based on design requests from various stakeholders from across EMBL. Continue reading “Design Burst // September 2018”
Last week, the Digital team – together with a few people from Heidelberg IT – spent a couple of sunny days at EBI with our friends in Web Dev. The aim of this third retreat was to discuss and plan the EMBL.org roadmap and identify projects that would address three core areas: technical infrastructure, web development, and enterprise data. Let’s take a close look at each of these areas. Continue reading “Web Retreat Number 3”
Digital products are designed for use. Even simple, text-based websites are consumed by users with a task in mind. Mostly they want to find something specific. Sometimes they might want to get in touch with a real person to ask a specific question. Or apply for a job. ‘Just surfing around’, even ‘reading’ requires a user to navigate.
Modern digital design practice has user research at its core. By understanding the needs, motivations and behaviour of our users means that we can design and deliver the best experience to them. However, sometimes, those needs may be in conflict with organisation goals, product roadmaps, or as I indicated just now, perceived wisdom and stereotypes. It’s our business to challenge those falsehoods with insight and evidence from real people to place the user first in our priorities. Continue reading “Modern user research: What is it? How is it done? And why?”
Every month, for a few months, we’ve been sending an update to our department an update in a simple format: what we did last month, and what we’re planning to do next month. Of course, as the team grows, this makes for a longer update but we think the detail is important. It helps us paint a picture of the status of projects and how they may connect to others. And often, the detail in our work is where we find common points of pain, or opportunities to collaborate, with our colleagues. Continue reading “Digital communications update: July/August 2018”