Last week the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, launched a massive redesign and overhaul of their site.
If you’ve ever worked on redesigning a website, you know already that there can be many reasons to redesign a site. Sometimes you redesign because you want to do something totally different visually or functionally. Those are the exciting redesigns, the ones that your staff and your audience are thrilled by. And sometimes you have to redesign because technology has changed and you have to keep up. These redesigns are just as much work, but it can be hard to get your audience (or your staff) excited about the fact that your content management system is updated, or that mobile users finally have the same tools as on desktop.
Greater Good’s redesign is the best of both worlds—beauty and brains, so to speak! The site was split from one into two: the Greater Good Magazine and the Greater Good Science Center. Both of the sites received gorgeous news looks, created by Project6 Design, a San Francisco-based graphic design firm. Both also benefitted from extensive site architecture overhauls (coded by us).
Visitors to each site will appreciate the spacious and of-the-moment design. Project6’s less-is-more visual approach gives Greater Good Magazine’s outstanding content pride of place on every page, whether you’re browsing articles about forgiveness or empathy, taking an interactive stress and anxiety quiz, or listening to one of Dr. Christine Carter’s excellent happiness podcasts. What visitors won’t notice—if we all did our jobs right—is how easy and intuitive it is to peruse all this content. Those unsexy information architecture improvements allow Greater Good editors to organize and present content by format (i.e., podcast, videos, studies), by topic (i.e., Mind & Body, Workplace, Spirituality), and by author. In other words, there’s an intuitive navigation path for all kinds of explorers.
Mobile and tablets users will find that both the magazine and GGSC sites behave gracefully and look great, and will lose none of the functionality available to desktop users. Both sites are now responsive. The home page is especially attractive and fun to use on smartphones.
Accessibility was also a big focus of this redesign: Disabled visitors who rely on screen readers will appreciate the handy skip navigation feature that makes jumping to the navigation, or the main content of the page, a single keystroke instead of many. Each clickable item shows strong visual highlighting when it receives focus; colors have been optimized for visitors who experience color blindness or other vision issues; and underneath the hood, WAI-ARIA coding and semantic markup makes it easier for screen readers to read back content, identify content areas, and ease navigation within a page and across the site.
GG Magazine visitors will appreciate the convenience of the new the bookmarking feature. Creating an account is free and quick, and once you’ve logged in, you can bookmark any piece of content on the site. Want to track that article down again later? A quick click to your account page, and you can find anything you’ve bookmarked on the site, beautifully organized and presented. No more trying to think up search terms that will get you an article you read three months ago!
Visitors to the Greater Good Science Center site can more easily learn about booking speakers, register for events, and delve into the many areas of research conducted at the center.
As one visitor put it, “@GreaterGoodSC nailed the magazine redesign.”
We can’t say enough good great! things about our Greater Good friends Jason Marsh and Jeremy Adam Smith, who are always a joy to work with (sure, you’d expect that from an organization that focuses on happiness and compassion, but even so…). And Project6 was a super to work with, delivering great design that was easy to move through development. We’re so honored to have been the development partner for such a great group of folks, and in service to a community that’s truly making positive change in the world.
Congratulations, Greater Good!