Analysis

Having been online for 15 years, the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC) is the website for the latest research on governance, social development, humanitarian response and conflict in the developing world.

The original content management system (CMS) however was showing its age and was not providing the GSDRC team with the functionality it needed to curate the huge set of resources that the site had collated over the years. The user’s experience of the site was also not up to the standards most would expect. It lacked the flexibility to display well on different devices, especially mobile, and was unable to support the new multimedia resources that are now commonplace in online learning resources.

Solution

Working closely with the GSDRC team, I transferred the site into the WordPress CMS. This included:

  • Working with a designer to create a new look for the site that refreshed the existing brand and was clean and easy to read and navigate, not matter what device it was viewed on.
  • Setting up the data structures and migrating over 5000 items of content from the old website to WordPress. Working closely with the GSDRC team to make sure all the relevant data was transferred and nothing important was lost in the migration.
  • Rationalising the ways of categorising the content, which enabled linkages between content and provided a better service to their users and made them stay on the site longer.
  • Creating a new multimedia “Reading Pack” content type that mixes audio, video, and static resources to provide thought provoking introductions to relevant topics and the emerging issues and debates within them.

Conclusion

For the GSDRC team, the new website enabled them to

  • Manage their content better and more consistently, improving their internal processes and making them more efficient

For the GSDRC’s users, the new website:

  • Created an improved experience with a responsive design that works on mobile and tablet
  • Provided a clear demarcation between content, so users would know what they were looking at and what it was.
  • Supplied access to more diverse types of content that are linked together in a way that makes a user want to explore the website and go back to it again and again.