Websites are like dinosaurs, only they’re alive!

How we built the new website for the Argentine think tank CIPPEC, step by step

Step by step, how we build the new CIPPEC website

[This article has been featured at On Think Tanks. You can find it here]

1. Hello, audience!

Like good paleontologists, the first thing we did was check out the terrain. In the case of CIPPEC, we tasked ourselves with really getting to know their needs, how they operate and familiarising ourselves with their communications strategy. However, it wasn’t just about getting to know them. We had to get to know their audience.

“A user persona is a representation of the characteristics, abilities, objectives and attitudes of a hypothetical user.”

Through the interviews, we tried to understand what users do and need when they visit CIPPEC’s website. Three things to keep in mind at this stage are:

  1. Try to pin down what they really do and not what they say they do or their opinion about the design.
  2. Pay attention to the specific words they use to describe sections or content. You want your site to speak the same language.

Through the user interviews, we learned some very useful things. For starters:

  • The section “About us” or “Team” doesn’t only act as an introduction, it also has a strong social dimension. Expert users are interested in following their colleagues’ professional paths, knowing if they switch areas or if they join a new project. For this reason, we decided to include access to the experts along with each type of content: in the publications section, the thematic areas, and also in a new experts section.

2. Flow with the user

We’ve already gotten to know our users. The second step is helping them navigate the site and meet their objectives as simply as possible. To accomplish this, we built a flow chart with all the information we were going to offer and the paths users will take to navigate it. This is the site flow.

  • About the future: We envisioned a structure of flexible post-types that would allow for the creation of new project pages without having to build an external site. Even though users told us they still prefer PDFs to read long texts, we created a model ready to generate purely digital publications, with the possibility of embedding highlights, videos, content from social media and interactive charts.

3. Wireframes and design

With the general overview of the outline, we could start laying out each page. A wireframe is like an architectural blueprint for a website: it defines what you see, how big it is, in what order and where. Nothing else. For now, there are no colors or definition of fonts or styles.

4. Layout and implementation

After all the planning, the time has come to make it a reality: layout and implementation. We selectedWordPress as the CMS due to its versatility and ease of use. Like everything in this process, we adapted it to fit CIPPEC’s specific needs. For instance, title styles have a maximum number of characters enabled from the system, because CIPPEC’s team wanted to avoid the temptation to use unnecessarily long titles.

5. Going online and loading content

All of CIPPEC’s previous publications were migrated automatically. We had to resolve a few specific issues for the tags on those old publications to work properly. For instance, some of those tags belonged to institutional areas that no longer existed.

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