SOMO is an independent, not-for-profit research -and network organisation. Since 1973 SOMO does extensive research on multinational corporations and the consequences of their activities for people and the environment worldwide.
The SOMO website presents this research and a wealth of other vital information. Civil societies, journalists and policymakers can easily access information packages that apply specifically to them. A user-friendly backend enables the SOMO researchers to respond quickly and effectively to current events. With a few clicks one can launch a new dossier or highlight an existing one. Obviously the website is responsive and suitable for any device.
Along with various stakeholders of SOMO we started the ‘Scrum’ project with a so called Sprint 0. In Sprint 0 we determined the concept, agreed on the scope of the project and determined a Minimum Design up Front. In a series of intensive sessions we formed target audiences into personas and scenarios. The scenarios were then transformed into User Stories which together determined the backlog of the project. In the three short sprints that followed we delivered the MVP (minimum viable product).
“SOMO wants to provide civil society with the knowledge to defy the economic forces that stand in the way of a sustainable and equitable world. To unlock this knowledge, we needed a new website. Level Level helped us to define our core pages. Not the homepage, but the publication and overview pages covering our main topics are central. pages and browse pages on our main issues are central. A very refreshing way of looking at a website. Visitors can now easily search on topics they find interesting and are presented with possibilities to get into contact for more information. Research and knowledge is presented in a more inspiring and visually appealing way. Due to the wide variety of content types, our knowledge become flexible in its form, media and resources. We were surprised by the ability of Level Level to understand our organization and use this understanding in their design. We are very proud of the result. “
Where visitors and publishers meet
A good website is able to both meet the goals of the owner and the goals of the visitor. To find out what goals would overlap we investigated the goals of both parties. For both parties ‘information’ turned out to be the key; providing information and accessing information. From here we defined content types to structure information and how to present this in a valuable way to the end-user.
“Together with the team of SOMO we have analyzed all the information available and made decisions about the structure of the website. We compared key actions and goals of SOMO and its website users. Where goals overlapped we created so-called core-pages. These are the pages that address both the needs of the organisation and it’s website visitors. This formed the basis to start designing. Because the core pages were the most important the homepage was one of the last pages we designed.”
Look & Feel
SOMO.nl is about presenting content in a powerful way. When a picture is important we made the image the most prominent feature, when sharing an opinion we focus on the author and when a research paper or piece of text should have the focus made sure to remove distraction. This results in a dynamic design which had to be balanced by providing a clean navigation.
“This was not the regular kind of imprt. We had to retrieve the content structure, scrape data and assets, restructure it and import it while setting new relationships. Quite a challenge that kept me busy for some time.”
User friendly backend
For SOMO is very important to be able to place new content quickly and easily. With WordPress as a CMS it can’t be more simple. All content can be added, edited and enriched by editors and administrators. The content is easy to label under the appropriate category and content type.
An essential part in this project was the data migration from the CMS Plone to WordPress. To be honest; this proved to be quite a challenge.
An export from Plone was unavailable so we had to scrape the old website. All data was started in JSON format. Because we had to deal with a huge amount of PDF documents and images we decided the import had to be cut in two. First we would scrape and store all information including all the assets locally. Second, we would write an import script that would not only import data but would also create relationships between different types of data. The import script was written in such a way it can be used on the commandline using WP-CLI.
Challenges we tackled
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