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Internet2 Installs a New Front Door

Oct 29, 2013, by Doug Howell
Tags: External Relations, Frontpage News, Internet2 Member, Member Relations and Programs, Membership

Internet2 has released a new website to the community and the public—our new “front door.” As we hope you know, Internet2 is your community, so we hope you will feel welcome, and that you’ll come to visit often.

Our previous site was built on an aging platform, and had not seen a redesign for 7 years, or a substantive, structural redesign for over 10 years. It has been a challenge the last few years trying to keep up with changing, dynamic content paradigms, so we are looking forward to the flexibility of the new site, which is built on the Django application framework and delivers content via the Django content management system (CMS).

The design process was initiated with an extensive research study, which evaluated the information needs of many different types of Internet2 members (as well as non-members). The study, completed in April, 2012, gave us valuable insights into the needs of our broad user base and informed our new design.

We engaged Enlighten, a prominent digital marketing firm, to design the site, in collaboration with a cross-functional web working group representing all areas of Internet2. The project encompassed the

  • Redesign of navigation and page structure (information architecture),
  • Redesign of the visual look-and-feel, and
  • Implementation of the designs in the new CMS and application framework. This last bit (quite a large bit!) was accomplished by our own Tech Services Group, with help from consultant Brian Kerr.

One thing the team felt particularly strongly about was that community members should be involved in evaluating our designs. So during the course of the project, users—including CIOs, network experts, IT professionals and scientific researchers—participated in two separate assessments. First, they evaluated the information design itself through a series of prototype mock-ups. Later, after user suggestions had been incorporated, they evaluated the visual design by interacting with a more complete prototype.

As the tech team has been finishing up implementation tasks, our Marketing and Communications team has been busy assessing and moving content, and finally the day has come to invite you in.

Cloud Services V I menu

So what can you expect from the new site?

  • New Products & Services menu. For the first time, all the info on the Internet2 product and service portfolio is consolidated in one place.
  • New Visions & Initiatives menu. If you’re interested in strategic perspectives that can help you lead your organization with advanced technologies, you won’t have to make do with one little page anymore. This is your one-stop strategic info shop.
  • Mobile-friendly experience. Get out those phones and bookmark us.
  • Truly dynamic content everywhere—through the assignment of subject and other tags, related news, events, groups and other information now appears right where you need it.
  • More prominent placement for video and graphics. As they say, a picture is worth a whole lotta words. And our new emphasis on multimedia will help users gather and share information much more easily.
  • A new homepage theater and multiple showcases.
  • Consistent presentation of both group and service information. Whether you want to sign up for a cloud service or participate in a groups that will define one, you can more easily find the info you need to get started.
  • New visibility for case studies, presentations. These are some of our community’s most valuable assets because they show how members are really implementing Internet2 initiatives and using community technology. Finally, they’ll be given the treatment they deserve.
  • You can sign in using your organization’s federated user credentials if your organization is an InCommon participant. If not, you can create a local SiteID, that will allow you to comment on blog posts, create a personal profile, or (in the future) use other local Internet2 services.

Content migration and development will continue past the launch, so be sure to visit often! We hope you enjoy the new coat of paint, the new features—and the new content, too. We’re very excited to welcome you to your new online home.