Landing pages: Sprinting towards embl.org

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.

Aggregated content will be pulled into the page with the help of the Enterprise Data system that the Heidelberg IT team is working on. Enterprise Data means data relating to people (name, job title, photo, email address, phone number, etc), Jobs (title, location, application deadline etc) and Publications (list of scientific publications from the Converis system, related to a named person). Such information is stored in various systems around EMBL, but currently the ability to share and re-use this data in different places is limited technically. (Don’t worry – we have a comprehensive privacy policy to ensure that no private data is shared without consent.)

The Content team in Stratcomm in Heidelberg will be responsible for curated content – news and other articles, written on various sites and pulled automatically into a central “Content Hub”, where tags and other metadata can be added to ensure the content is then displayed in relevant locations across sites and feeds.

So what did we achieve on this sprint?

This.
http://dev.beta.embl.org/cancer/

It’s a demo version – a beta release – of what the landing page might look like for the future embl.org/cancer. You’ll notice it looks and feels like an unfinished product: the final design is not implemented, the font is large, etc. This is deliberate – we would like people to recognise this as a “work in progress”. Mark will be blogging his ideas about what constitutes an “alpha”, “beta” or “live” release over the coming weeks. Here’s a quick primer.

On this sprint the joint teams in Heidelberg and at the EBI ensured that real data and real content was made available for the Content Hub to suck in and display on this page. The text and articles at the top are real content from the Content Hub. Articles in the EMBL and Cancer section are written and published on news.embl.de (well, a test version for now) and automatically appear on the landing page when they are properly tagged “cancer.” The jobs feed is live data from the jobs API, for jobs relevant to the “cancer” topic.

Take a look at our demo of the sprint
And the slides from the presentation

We’re preparing another sprint on landing pages for next week, to dig deeper into various technical issues, and to create more content for the beginnings of the new embl.org.