| 15. December 2017
A new design for DLR.de
DLR.de is launching its new design concept in autumn 2018, almost seven years since the last redesign.
With a simultaneous change in software, the portal will be given not only a new design, but also new architecture. In future, the portal will continue to reflect DLR's growing research and development portfolio and will also better respond to the needs of our visitors.##markend##
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." Steve Jobs
Together with the gstltng agency, we developed a design concept that reflects the wishes of our external and internal users.
The user-friendliness and information design of the older portal have been seriously overhauled. Nothing has changed regarding quality: in future, DLR.de will continue to report in a way that is intelligible to all on current research innovations in aeronautics, space, energy and transport research, as well as on security and digitalisation – but from autumn 2018 this will be more clearly arranged, responsive and with plenty of additional information.
Through analyses, we know that our visitors arrive at DLR.de pages through search engines, links in newsletters and social media platforms. This is why further-reaching DLR content must be easy to access. In future, users will be able to access information much more quickly, thanks to a menu that is continually visible. Additionally, an improved search function and indexing on all DLR.de items should provide accurate results.
This concept also provides access at the content level to the websites of all DLR Institutes, facilities and projects. Furthermore, it offers various display forms, slim news-item formats, dossiers, blogs and social media activities in a wide variety of multimedia.
In the future, large image sliders on the website will simultaneously provide various functions: they are eye-catching, draw the user's attention to outstanding subjects, and through a link will take users to well-prepared dossiers. The home page is supplemented with teasers for articles, DLR facts, the most recent blog posts, as well as news from DLR social media channels, job vacancies and a calendar.
DLR.de is also easier access:
Easily legible texts in simple and clear language will provide greater accessibility. Contributions will be enriched through easy-to-use image galleries, glossary entries and brief information about institutes and facilities. The future portal will also manage without different news pages. All of the content is centrally available in a news archive through an intelligent and extensive filter function, thus providing information appropriate to the target group.
Understand, explore and implement
The 'Relaunch DLR.de' project is challenging, with over 6000 articles, 8000 media elements and 550 sub-pages. All of the existing content has to be migrated and usability and accessibility must be optimised, all while stakeholder requirements are kept in mind. In addition, the new design is accompanied by a change in the content management system (CMS) and the technology has to be upgraded for this purpose.
We have been running analyses, designing, and carrying out feasibility studies for two years. The 'Relaunch DLR.de' project is now entering its last phase. The DLR Communications team initially started an analysis phase back in August 2015, together with internal and external project partners. It was the most important phase as it formed the foundation for the design concept. It was divided into four steps.
Clear focus on the main target groups
The analysis phase started in autumn 2015 with an online survey, in which more than 2000 visitors took part. They gave us valuable information on the existing site, shared their wishes for the future website, and provided us with a concrete view of their needs.
The DLR.de user group is highly diverse and comprises representatives from government and the economy, partners, journalists, DLR employees, teachers, students, prospective employees, and the general public.
The analysis showed that the majority of visitors are interested in background information, short news items and DLR events; on average, their ages range from 30 to 45 years, and visit DLR.de several times a week.
In the next step, we held more than 30 interviews with internal and external stakeholders to discover their needs and expectations. They concluded that DLR's research disciplines will need to increase collaboration and that this, along with transparent synergies, should be more apparent on the new website. The areas of research, the Space Administration and Project Management Agencies, as well as the scientific profile should all be bolstered. In addition, more content on international collaboration is desired.
In the third step, we used analytics software to analyse user data, including where the users come from and how many people visit the portal. Furthermore, we learned which browsers and devices were used to access DLR.de.
In the last and fourth stage, and building on these quantitative and qualitative results, we created personas (i.e. user groups) that characterised the features of the people in our target groups. We observed a total of 21 test persons via video analysis to see how they navigated through the website in order to solve defined tasks.
The result of this most important project phase formed the foundation of the design concept.
The feasibility of the new web design was further tested by a team of programmers, designers and usability experts in many meetings. It is now in the prototyping phase and will subsequently be transferred to the new environment, the Government Site Builder (GSB/OS). This is a content-management system developed by the German Federal administration, which will be published as an open-source solution at the start of the second quarter of 2018.
All of the content will be migrated in October 2018 and should be accessible in its new look.
We will keep you updated on the progress of the project in our next blog post.
And now a little DLR web history….
DLR has been active on the Internet for 25 years – the first 'website' of the former German Aerospace Research Institute (DFVLR) went online in mid-1993. The official DLR website went live in 1994. By 31 December 1997, the WWW was run by the Central Data Processing department, with the involvement of DLR's PR department, before officially passing responsibility to the Press and Public Affairs department, today Public Affairs and Communications, on 1 January 1998. The Communications department is still responsible for the DLR web portal, reporting directly to the Chair of the Executive Board.