UNRISD Launches New Web Site!
21 Jun 2002
On 24 June 2002, following over one year of work, UNRISD launched its new Web site!
The redevelopment project has had the following main objectives.
Improved service Provide accurate, reliable and up-to-date information that can be accessed quickly and intuitively. Reduce the amount of time spent by users to locate information, and illustrate the interlinkages between the different areas of the Institute’s work.
Improved usability Dramatically improve usability, for site visitors as well as for content contributors and site administrators, through attractive site design and an integrated content management system.
Greater efficiency Empower all UNRISD staff to contribute site content with ease.
High reliability Provide a system that users can rely on.
Raised Profile The UNRISD Web site should be seen as the “showcase for UNRISD’s intellectual output, activities and publications”. The site should develop and be recognized as a portal site for research on social development.
The primary sections of the new site are:
· About UNRISD
· News & Views
In addition to these main types of content, the following facilities are available:
· Site Search
· English/Français/Español (language selector)
· Email Alerts
The new site architecture and design allows users to discover the interlinkages between all of the Institute’s activities through the extensive use of keyword categorization for all of the information on the site.
Choices on accessing long documents
Another important aspect of usability, especially for a site such as this one, which contains a wealth of full-text documents and whose target users are spread across the world (and thus may not have access to top-of-the-line computers or to reliable telecommunications connections), is the accessibility of content. The new site offers three options for accessing most of the full-text documents, whether formal publications issued by the Institute or “draft” research documents. Users may choose the option that is most convenient for them: viewing a document on screen, downloading and opening a PDF version, or receiving a PDF as an e-mail attachment.
The new site also has a sophisticated e-mail sign-up service, which allows users to customize their profile by selecting the frequency with which they wish to be alerted about site updates (weekly, monthly), and by choosing to be informed of updates to specific sections of the site (for example, “Research”, “Events”, “Publications”) or all sections.
Site visitors are invited to visit the Feedback section, and to fill in the survey to let UNRISD know what they think of the new site!
Background on the redevelopment project
The redevelopment project began in early 2001, with an investigation of how the site could be restructured and redesigned to reflect more contemporary trends in Web site usability and to improve user friendliness. This information-gathering exercise was carried out between January and May 2001 by Jenifer Freedman, UNRISD editor (and co-ordinator of the Web site redevelopment project), and Tony Formoso (UNRISD’s information technology consultant) in close consultation with the Director and UNRISD staff, and outside professionals. Detailed suggestions were collected in view of a comprehensive overhaul of the look and feel of the site, as well as its structure and maintenance.
The United Nations Procurement Section received from UNRISD and sent out the formal Request for Proposal and Site Redevelopment specifications to 15 prospective companies at the end of June 2001. In July and August, the UNRISD editor and information technology consultant carried out a technical evaluation of the seven proposals and tender documents that had been submitted, and the contract was awarded to Blue Sky Communications Limited, a London-based firm, in September 2001. Another UK-based firm, Blue Ice Web Technology, has also collaborated on the Net-It aspect of the site redevelopment.
The redevelopment project has been a collaborative effort between Blue Sky and UNRISD staff members. Actual work on the redevelopment began in October 2001, and has recently been completed. UNRISD is very grateful to Blue Sky for their assistance on the project, and is pleased to launch the new site!