scientific and technical website design projects news

New Nanofactory website

The Nanofactory site presented a number of interesting problems. The new site was to replace an existing website that had a lot of content that was both difficult to navigate, and had very little to engage a visitor. The new program of work for Nanofactory, however, required a site that would engage visitors, and encourage them to contact the team.

We started by preparing a consultation document that covered how the site might be improved: the type of content that might be included that would help engage visitors, and ideas as to how we could re-work the existing material so that it was accessible. Following the consultation, Eleven design took the lead in visualising both the new propotional material, then the new look site, just leaving us to ‘make it so’.

Meanwhile we transferred the existing content from the worst ever CMS (eventually we had to cut and paste the stuff out by hand, as the client had not been given backend access to their own website!) into a MySQL database. This was then compressed into a single page that employs an interactive filter system. This allows visitors to drill down through the available resources and expertise in nanotechnology in the Yorkshire region to find the technique or expert of interest. At each stage a contact form is available to permit the visitor to send a message to Nanofactory identifying the area of interest.

Nanofactory website screen shot.

The visual Eleven came up with for the site was (as ever) very clean and attractive, but offered a number of technical challenges, for instance requiring a rolling gallery of images to advertise the region’s nanotechnology expertise. Developing a content management system to manage the site, the interactive gallery and the interactive filter page was an interesting project in its own right. While WordPress offers increasing challenge on the CMS front, we used Joomla! as the core for this system due to its proven competency with larger, complex websites.

As a bit of a departure for us, the client required ‘pop up’ Javascript based contact forms on all of the core pages in the site. We developed these based on the available Mootools Javascript library packaged with Joomla!, so there was no additional download overhead for visitors using the site.

Currently the gallery is still populated by older work by Nanofactory, but can handle 50+ project images and links to project writeups in blog form within the Joomla! CMS, offering essentially limitless room for expansion.