Questions frequently asked in the pre-release feedback

Thanks so much to everyone who has given feedback on the pre-release version of the new website to date. I have endeavoured to reply to every feedback in person, but I may have missed a few people due to the sheer number of responses. Here, in no particular order, is a round-up of some of the questions that came up multiple times, along with my answers.

Roadmap for launching the new website

We often hear about 'launches' of new websites. This sounds punchy and exciting -  as if we are ready to embark on a new journey - but in the context of changing CERN's websites, which are used so heavily by such a large and diverse community, a slower introduction of the new core website is appropriate. In this post I will briefly sketch a roadmap for how I see this transition working out. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

CERN Timelines: A tool for storytellers

A key aim of the core website is to deliver engaging, content-rich pages that keep site visitors clicking for more. Articles or updates on the site should act as jumping-off points to further content that adds context and depth for an interesting reading experience. Timelines are an excellent way of providing such an experience, and they are an opportunity to showcase the wealth of images and videos currently buried in the archives of the CERN Document Server.

Who moved the kettle?

The beta version of the new core website is quite a departure from the current experience offered by the current two 'homes' on the CERN web: the public page and the users' page. A number of people have responded with quite some anger about the changes - particularly to the users' pages. The users' page is something that we have become very comfortable with over a number of years, and the change can seem unwelcome. It can feel a bit like someone coming in to your kitchen and moving your kettle - extremely annoying!

Fast and fresh

The length of time it takes for pages to load is a key part of the experience when browsing a website. Slow pages just don't feel good - and they don't have to be that slow to feel really slow. Our new website has to be zippy. 

Over the next couple of months, as we work towards a pre-release in November, we will be putting a lot of work into performance.  I think it is important to outline what this means, and to describe some of the challenges we will face.

Integration between Drupal and CDS: is that ready yet?

One of the things we are trying to figure out for our new Drupal site – and for the whole Drupal infrastructure in general – is how to integrate Drupal with applications used at CERN (SSO, indico, Search, LDAP). We discussed Drupal and CDS in a series of recent ENTICE meetings. So have the two systems been integrated yet?


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