A Bright New Website for Pioneering Science

AMMONITES: MONTERO VERDU/ESRF

How London-based agency, Ngoar developed and integrated a new website for The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility to reflect its leadership position and unrivalled reputation for innovation and excellence.

A Scientific Hub

The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) is a joint scientific research facility located in Grenoble France. It is supported by 21 countries.

Around 8,000 scientists from all over the world visit this particle accelerator every year. They carry out more than 2,000 experiments and produce around 1,800 scientific publications.

Their groundbreaking research focuses on the use of X-ray radiation in fields as varied as protein crystallography, earth science, paleontology, chemistry and physics.

The ESRF is the most intense source of synchrotron-generated light there is. It produces X-rays 100 billion times brighter than the X-rays used in hospitals. These X-rays, equipped with exceptional properties, are produced by the high-energy electrons that travel around the storage ring, a circular tunnel that measures 844 metres in circumference.

Because of the brilliance and quality of its X-rays, the ESRF functions like a super-microscope. It ‘films’ the position and motion of atoms in condensed and living matter, and reveals the structure in all its complexity. It offers unrivalled exploration opportunities for scientists in many important areas.

The brief

The demanding brief was to re-design and rebuild the ESRF’s existing website, on the same platform and to include major structural changes and improvements. It’s an English language website with almost 15,000 pages and about a dozen pages in French.

Ngoar, the Soho-based, pioneering digital agency were selected for the project from a supplier base of 19 countries. Ngoar collaborate and work with leading agencies and brands to deliver technical expertise and creative vision. They have spent many years perfecting the blended ‘On-Shore / Near-Shore’ development structure and their developers are some of the leading software engineers in the world.

The ESRF’s main aim was to revamp its current Jahia platform-developed website to better reflect its scientific excellence and to communicate more effectively with the different target audiences - scientists, industrialists, education and the public.

The aims of the brief were to develop and integrate a website that would:

  1. Reaffirm the ESRF’s leadership position.
  2. Communicate values of excellence and innovation.
  3. Inform the public about project news and scientific results.
  4. Offer easier access to the extensive content of the website.

On a more detailed level the new website had to meet these goals.

  • A new cleaner, streamlined, modern design that more accurately reflected the organisations leading-edge reputation.
  • To present the ESRF’s image and identity with a more appealing modern focus.
  • To incorporate Jahia platform use and maintenance.
  • To ensure clearer communication for the various target audiences.
  • To make the website more user-friendly, especially for scientists and industrialists.

Ngoar successfully implemented a new menu structure that was much easier to navigate.

They also built a new template set, with variants for administrators - including full components support, content editors - with restricted list of components suitable for common site editing and a simple, easiest to use one for inexperienced users.

A new social media integration subsystem was also incorporated so that Twitter messages and images from Facebook and Instagram could be shown on the site. In addition, the subsystem was to be fully configurable from the CMS and also support prefetch and caching.

Exceptional results

Ngoar ensured that every objective of the brief was met and the new ESRF website has now gone live.

As Peter Meadows, Ngoar CEO says,

‘I was delighted that Ngoar was selected from a supplier base covering 19 Countries, as the trusted partner to develop the site. We are pleased to have delivered another website on the Jahia platform within budget and on time.’

He adds, ‘It was also very satisfying to be able to work on a project of such complexity for an organisation as innovative and forward-thinking as The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, whose work has contributed to at least six Nobel prizes.’

The new European Synchrotron Radiation Facility website has been very well received by users from all three user groups – the scientific community, industry and the general public. It is now a clean, fresh user-friendly website that is much easier to use despite the inherent complexity of its specialist content, and its breath and depth.

The final comment comes from Marie Robichon who is the Website Manager at ESRF.

‘I would like to say that I am very impressed by the work the teams have done, both on the Front End side and the Back End side…The whole team have been a pleasure to work with, have been attentive to my requirements and have worked rapidly and professionally, with a real attention to detail.’

You can find out more about The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and the work it does here.

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