new year, new website

One of the lovely things about being a designer is the little moment you have when something you've created gets set free into the world. It's the little swell of pride when something that you made, that wasn't there before but now is there, is going off to do good things. I imagine it's something akin to having children and seeing them progress and learn, but as my most nurturing relationship to date has been with my plant George, I'm going to transpose that feeling onto the finale of the creative process. 

One of my favourite ongoing projects is The Economist Educational Foundation - a charity that I've been involved with since it was started in 2012. 

We began this year with a shiny new website that really showcases what the Foundation does and why it's an amazing organisation. The previous website was built by external developers on Drupal had been a bit of a trial to get sorted. Two years later, it already looked dated and we weren't happy with the usability, so I decided to give Wordpress a bit of a bash. Alongside a developer-wizard friend, who tweaked the bits that needed to be tweaked and made sure that the website did everything we needed to do, we managed to produce a site that shows (rather than tells) what the Foundation is. We had so much great content that was being hidden by the last site, so this new one heavily features videos and photos.

The trickiest part of the website was The Library - an area where we upload resources for teachers to use in their classrooms. Users needed to be able to search by curriculum subject, by type of content or by level, so the functionality needed to be a bit more complicated than simple tagging. It took a lot of trawling of WP themes to find a one that would fit both the aesthetic and the UX sides but I found Agent, a responsive theme aimed at creatives and agencies that had a built-in shop function. These shop 'products' became 'resources' and we're in the process of fully populating it now. There are still a few bugs that need to be ironed out, but it's getting there. 

I've included some screenshots below, but visit the website to get the full effect of the background videos.

Click here to see more of my work for the Foundation.

 

As a note, this site was my second foray into designing with a WordPress theme, the first was BurnetNewsClub.com - a separate website for one of the Foundation's programmes, The Burnet News Club. I have to say, I've found WordPress to be incredibly intuitive and the support forums are amazing. I'd really recommend to anyone (sorry Squarespace, I still love you too)