Cian, Silvia and I will be joing Mark Boulton's team in their studio next week for a code and content sprint. One of the main objectives is to build out the prototype of the users' page (both the 'news' or 'updates' section and the 'directory'). We want to get the authoring and workflow tools into the hands of the communications group's editorial team as soon as possible, ready for a beta launch of the site. What else will we be doing?
The redesign of the users' page - the site that we see when we access cern.ch from the CERN site and that many of us call 'the CERN homepage' - is going to be a crucial part of the new website, and we've been working hard over this past month to define how this will work.
The current users' page provides several distinct functions:
a directory: links to other sites and applications;
'actions' such as finding a phone number or a building, booking a room or raising a service portal ticket;
updates and editorial content: information about what is happening in the CERN community and the wider HEP community.
At the moment these functions all coexist in the same place and we have a noisy page - albeit one that we are used to and in many senses performs rather well. This page is under some strain, however - if you want to announce a conference, for instance, your event has tough competition for exposure - and we think that these functions (directory, actions, editorial content) would be best if they were separated.
The CERN core website redesign is a project that is running in parallel with several initiatives:
building a new configurable 'dashboard';
defining a pattern library and branding guidelines that all websites can use;
building a new Drupal theme for CERN.
You may have noticed the site looks a little different now: this is the beta version of the theme in action. There are some problems to address before it's ready for the wild: we're going to fix things up iteratively before 2 April. I'd appreciate your help in picking up bugs - feedback form available here: https://change-surveys.web.cern.ch/cern-theme-user-feedback
The intent for the first alpha was to get theming in Drupal and to test out the integration of event displays into the homepage. We're going to freeze this first alpha now and move on to the next iteration where we'll be working on getting the content workflows in place and begin to build out the 'CERN people' and 'Scientists' sections. We'll try and get this second alpha out by the end of March before we move on to the next phase. I hope we can get to a beta in May, where we can start running this website in parallel with the current public website.
In the context of the new and exciting changes foreseen for the CERN website based on Drupal, the Multimedia Service acts as the store for all the multimedia data presented (images, movies, lectures, ..), serving the streaming and downloading needs. The Multimedia Service is part of the CERN Document Server, and lots of work is going on behind the scenes in CDS to make its multimedia resources available for easy integration.
The first alpha version of the new website is here. But before you have a look, just a few words on what this release is, and what it is not.
This is not a finished, working website. There are content gaps, broken things, things that are plain wrong; it is the first step of getting our designs into real code, and there is a long way to go in this process. It is a hint of what the website will be like. So why show you something that is not ready? Why not wait to reveal the gleaming, finished product?
Before the Christmas break I promised an alpha version of the new website in February, and we're busy working on this now. It's always an interesting phase of a project: you've done your research, you've tested prototypes, you have your content strategy and you already have some markup; all that's left is to build the thing, right?
One of the aspects of this project is design and develop a theme that could be used for all Drupal websites within CERN.
A few months ago, we started gathering the requirements for this theme and auditing the various use-cases across the organisation. It became clear the those use-cases are extremely varied; from department websites, to individual’s blogs. The editorial need is also quite broad; from a communication tool around working groups, to simple note-recording. This theme had to work quite hard in capturing this broad requirement, but also putting in place tools to allow for slight customisation for users to make their site their own.
We have been through many design and prototype iterations over the past couple of months and we are now at the stage where we will begin to build this out in Drupal. We are going to try to have a first working alpha version sometime in February for you to try out. I'm sure that I will regret setting such an ambitious time frame to get this out, but we have some really good momentum going now and we need to capitalize on it.