Overhauling an earth science data organization’s interfaceInterdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance (IEDA)

web design UX case study
For a global earth data alliance funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the existing user interface of its website was not responsive on mobile devices, information was difficult to find, and site administrators relied on workarounds for content updates.

IEDA engaged Kelly Campbell to lead the overhaul of its online presence, which connects to several global data systems. The website project included strategy, user interface design, user experience consulting, and custom WordPress theme development.

Challenge

When dealing with interdisciplinary data systems, streamlining the navigation path for visitors is critical.

IEDA knew that a complete overhaul of its front-end site would allow users to better understand the differences between the systems, access them and their associated tutorial videos within a single click, and search and contribute data. Kelly’s work addressed two critical challenges for the organization:

• The interface needed to align with the organizational mission:
Since “IEDA systems serve as primary community data collections for global geochemistry and marine geoscience research,” the seamless, responsive interface design of its portal is mission-critical.

• A modern CMS needed to be customized and to increase internal efficiency:
In working with IEDA research scientists and data managers, it became clear that the outdated Drupal website theme forced the use of workarounds on a daily basis, causing frustration and lost time for site administrators. Knowing that there were planned enhancements to the various data systems, streamlining back-end processes and automating data feeds was of utmost importance.

Solution

Kelly developed a sitemap, wireframes and responsive website user experience to help streamline “data discovery and reuse for focused disciplinary research and to support interdisciplinary research and data integration.” With an understanding of their current and future administrative needs, she managed the production / development of the new, custom WordPress theme to fit the precise needs of the client. She trained them on content population, site modification and custom programming so they were empowered to add their own customizations as data repositories and syntheses, usage, content and needs grow.

Results

The IEDA team is empowered to bridge the gap between scientists and data that can support new and innovative discoveries. By providing stakeholders with user-friendly, fast access to the data systems, the data facility fulfills its mission is to support, sustain, and advance the geosciences. Visit iedadata.org.

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Kelly is a remarkable talent who has helped us think through a short and long term approach to our web site. She has consistently gone above and beyond the scope and both her technical, design and user experience insights have been impressive. Case study »

Farhana Mather, LDEO
Farhana Mather
Director of Development, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University

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