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C2ES

Organizational Web Site
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) works to advance policy and action on climate change issues. The organization seeks to provide legislators, policy makers, business decision makers, scientists, the press and the general public with credible, practical information about various initiatives going on in the US and abroad. When it was time to redesign their organizational website, they came to Trellon.

C2ES (formerly the Pew Center for Global Climate Change) had a problem on their hands. Content on their website was becoming unwieldy, and the look and feel no longer reflected their aims and goals as an organization. They had been using Drupal for several years, but the amount of content on the site had grown to a level where it was difficult to maintain and navigate.

They came to Trellon to refresh the look and feel of the site, giving it a modern appearance that carried their brand a little better. As part of this engagement, we worked together to identify their audience, organize content in a manner that effectively communicates their message, and make better use of the tools in the content management system.

THE CHALLENGE

As C2ES grew, its website did not. When the site was originally built, some assumptions were made about content, the way it would be organized, and what various audiences would find interesting. Over time, these assumptions created some obstacles. Some of the most important content was never being seen, and even minor site updates were difficult to perform. Clearly, it was time for a redesign.

Trellon approached the project as a design and technical challenge. Our primary goal was to promote the organization's message, and to establish their authenticity and credibility as an actor in the climate change debate. Our secondary goal was to redesign the underlying platform, putting tools in place that allow information to be more easily managed. We did this by working together with the team at C2ES in a number of ways:

  1. Performing audience identification, examining traffic, making decisions about how to organize content based on evidence
  2. Using existing content to establish a new information architecture that is intuitive and easy to understand
  3. Creating a fresh, modern design appropriate for the needs of the organization
  4. Upgrading the existing content management system
  5. Planning for future growth and providing tools that allow the site to scale over time

RESPONSE

As part of this engagement, Trellon provided strategy, design, development and support services while working together with the C2ES team.

Information Architecture

Annually, C2ES publishes a large amount of information on multiple subjects. Ensuring the site is intuitive and easy to navigate was no easy task, and required a great deal of planning.

To do this, we conducted formal audience identification, to understand their desired audience a little better and identify the content that appeals most to various groups based on interests. From there, we looked at data about actual traffic to the website, which revealed that some of the content that was key to their message was being seen infrequently (if at all). These are what we call gaps, and we used this information to guide our design efforts.

Trellon created site maps describing various ways of organizing content. After exploring some ideas, we structured information around sectors, locations and topics to provide a comprehensive way of structuring information in the site. From there, our team created wireframes, describing the composition of various web pages, using the layout of pages to give importance to the information that matters most.

Design

With a strong information architecture in place, our team created a fresh, modern design to appeal to the various audiences coming to the C2ES site.

Our team presented C2ES with a number of design concepts. After selecting an overall direction, our team worked with C2Es to identify the colors, fonts, and imagery that were most in keeping with their brand. As part of this effort, we focused on the use of imagery that was large and could fill out a page on most modern browsers. We did this to communicate the theme of climate change, and provide some natural references to what the solution looks like.

The redesign process took place prior to a major organizational rebranding. The new logos and communication standards for C2ES changed significantly within 6 months after launch of the new site. Our design anticipated change, and provided a framework to handle the modification of logos, colors, fonts and other design elements. The site was also able to survive a migration to a new URL, with search engine rankings being preserved for all major content in the site.

Drupal

As part of this project, our team addressed a number of concerns with the underlying platform. Previously, minor content updates would require a great deal of effort from content administrators. At times, the site would experience downtime when information was being updated, for no good reason.

As part of this project, our team addressed a number of concerns with the underlying platform. Previously, minor content updates would require a great deal of effort from content administrators. At times, the site would experience downtime when information was being updated, for no good reason. Additionally, some content on the site was invisible to search engines based on how it was being published.

To improve the authoring experience, Trellon did a complete rebuild of the website using Drupal. As part of this effort, our team migrated existing content types, user roles, taxonomy terms, and other basic configuration items into a fresh install of Drupal. We created a number of original content types to provide more granular publishing capabilities, and migrated targeted content into them. The result was an improved publication experience that made better use of the underlying platform.

To increase the visibility of content, our team focused on how information is accessed from outside the navigation of the site. We improved the search tools in the site using Apache Solr's faceted search tools. When searching for information, users can drill down based on topic, sector, location, keywords, content type and more. We also incorporated various tools for improving SEO on the site, including the sitemaps module. The provided an automated index to the site, eliminating issues with content not being seen by search engines.

Additionally, one of the key concerns for the site is reusing media. We improved support for images, videos and other forms of media in the site using the media module. This allowed administrators to create a library of content in the site which can be incorporated into various content over time. It also allowed the organization to manage documents more effectively and make global changes to media when needed. We built in support for embedding media, such as YouTube videos, into all content types.

The result was a site that looks good, is well-organized, and is easy to use.