The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment is the central hub of Stanford University's environment and sustainability research, where experts across sectors and disciplines find solutions to critical and complex environmental and sustainability challenges throughout the world.
Begun as a grassroots movement by a group of Stanford faculty, the Institute now comprises 10 percent of Stanford University's faculty and research professionals, and produces breakthrough environmental solutions that connect knowledge with action to solve the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.
A complete redesign of the Institute's website was a key milestone in the their strategic plan, and for that they turned to Emerge Interactive, in large part because of Emerge's award-winning work with leading educational, non-profit and sustainability organizations.
According to Executive Director Debbie Drake Dunne,
"We wanted a more intuitive website experience that makes our work accessible to the scholarly community, the campus at large and the many stakeholders looking for solutions-oriented research when making decisions about the environment and sustainability."
Emerge worked closely with a large and diverse community of stakeholders at Woods, soliciting and organizing feedback from the Woods community, using interviews conducted as part of their strategic planning process, along with data on how visitors used their existing site.
One of the key priorities that emerged from this process was the importance of enabling very different types of users (researchers, community members, global colleagues, members of the press, government and private decision-makers) to easily navigate through an enormous amount of publications and other content that make up the Institute's interdisciplinary research, programs and community.
Several interconnected solutions were developed to meet this challenge, including:
A streamlined design and organizational structure that allows users to quickly navigate the site by the core research areas.
Filters for different types of content - including news, events, publications and faculty profiles, enabling users to quickly find content by topic, research area, affiliation, etc.
Faculty and researcher profiles that can be fully sorted by type, school and research area and that are cross-linked to publications, presentations and ongoing research.
Emerge developed a highly-customized Drupal-based Content Management System to match the different types of content at the Institute's disposal, as well as the specific ways of indexing and categorizing that content which would make it accessible to the different kinds of users accessing it through the site. Emerge also developed and executed an extensive content migration plan so that Woods and Emerge could work together to move massive amounts of content to the new site in a timely manner, while maintaining extremely high quality standards.
The new site has been extremely well-received by the Woods community and the Woods staff has been extremely busy posting all kinds of new content from the ongoing work at the Institute, including News and Press Releases, Videos and Publications. Check it out!