First design sprints of the year

Last week we defined what we would like to improve on the CERN website between now and June. There's a lot we'd love to do. We're going to concentrate on the following areas:

  • refactoring the HTML, CSS and javascript at the Drupal theme level;
  • improving the way that images are handled, pulling them directly from the CERN Document Server (CDS);
  • dressing up content - improving the display of article metadata and giving editors more options for the display of quotes, images, slideshows and story summaries;
  • improving navigation for the 'cern' Drupal theme that is used by hundreds of CERN websites;
  • reworking the audience hubs - the pages for students and educators, scientists and CERN people.

Refactoring

We've found that as we build new features and iterate on existing code it's really important to occasionally take the time to go back and clean up the code. We're going to take a good couple of weeks to do this, which will make our future iterations easier and reduce the amount of code we send to the browser - making things faster for end users. We'll look at removing Sass - the CSS compiler workflow we've been using - to make it easier for other developers to jump in.

CDS image integration

At the moment we have a clunky workflow for images. Editors pick an image in CDS, download it, reformat it for web, and then upload it to the CERN website where it is enriched with metadata such as tags, title, description, attribution details and so on. Sadly this valuable metadata never makes it back to CDS. We're going to change this so that metadata enrichment happens on the CDS side. The CDS multimedia development team are going to help extend the image API so that CDS does all the hard work and serves the images for the CERN website. We'll produce two Drupal modules - a CKeditor plugin and a CDS image field module - that all CERN Drupal websites will eventually be able to use.

Dressing up content

During the development of the new website we've been extremely conservative with the display options for content. The focus has been on getting the basics rocks solid - producing good content to standard formats. It's time now to begin to 'dress up' the content a little more. We'll look at using the full grid at wider breakpoints, for instance, for displaying things like quotes and story summaries.

Improving navigation options on the 'cern' theme

Site managers are struggling to use the main navigation that the 'cern' theme offers. So we're going to look at building a site map feature that, alongside the tabs seen at larger screens, will create a structured map of the site content based on the main menu. This will serve as a the mobile navigation. We'll also look at improving navigation hierachies, so that relationships between primary, secondary and tertiary navigation is more clearly expressed.

Audience hubs

The audience section pages need to be improved. We're going to reach out to the various audiences and make some iterative changes.

So, lots of work ahead. If you have feedback or would like to get involved, please get in touch!

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