Background: The aim of this project was to add a contemporary flavor to an outdated website, and present a depth and breadth of content in a fun, engaging way. A successful outcome would add new energy to the Scitech brand.
Design core: The standout feature of the new Scitech website is how the design and user experience accommodates a simple user journey through a complex content structure while achieving best practice levels of accessibility.
There was a great deal of thought and discussion around how images would be used in the hero areas. Ordinarily we might try to impose constraints on how images can be utilized in these sections in order to protect the integrity of the design. However, we had immense faith in the client’s in-house content team to be able to manage a more flexible structure after we handed over the keys.
Favorite details: We’re extremely proud of the entire outcome and there are lots of great features throughout the site. Every key page of the website has been specifically designed to aid the user journey and to ensure the content is engaging and readable on any device.
From the interactive Show Times page, to the conversion focused Visit and Membership pages, to even more unique experiences such as The Sky Tonight or 30 Years of Scitech, each individual experience has been thoroughly considered. Something that also stands out from a build perspective is the incorporation of the design system into a solid foundation to construct each of the different layouts.
Challenges: Scitech is a large STEM organization with wide community engagement and many different kinds of programs and events running at any time. The website needed to reflect this scale of operation while supporting the need to promote events and Scitech’s STEM leadership generally. At the same time, it needed to ensure that it was both engaging and accessible for a very large audience. A lot of work was done behind the scenes to strategically position the website to support the needs of the audience and the organization into the future.
Divergent paths: As with any project of this complexity, there were many challenges along the way. In this case, the enormous amount of content and extensive array of content types made it difficult to plan a structure for the CMS that would allow for ultimate flexibility but also remain user-friendly and intuitive. For example, the events section was restructured several times to ensure an optimal user experience was achieved and that it could be easily managed by the client.
New lessons: An independent accessibility consultant was engaged by the client as part of the QA process to provide the best possible outcome for all users. While we always put considerable time and effort into ensuring our sites are accessible, there is always room for expert opinion. As such, we were able to further explore aspects of accessibility that were underserved, and were able to evolve and improve our processes for future use.
Technology: This was a large and complex project—although this may not be immediately obvious to most users—with more than 20 unique templates and 30 different content modules, as well as an extensive design system and fully editable components, all CMS managed. Beyond the main content pages, there is also a series of highly unique and interactive landing pages, two custom interactive maps, and a bespoke event creation and management system.