SIREN (Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network) at UCSF has a mission to, “Improve health and health equity by advancing high quality research on health care sector strategies to improve social conditions". This research initiative, supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a leader in the creation, curation and dissemination of research that explores the intersection between health and social determinants that often play a critical role in the health outcomes of individuals and communities.
Chapter Three was recently brought in to help the SIREN team make improvements to their old Drupal 7 site, the most extensive technical work since the original site was built. Over the last several years, SIREN's research and publication efforts grew; they needed a refresh, both to modernize the look and feel and to streamline the user experience. Importantly, they also needed to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. We managed to achieve all of these with an approach tailored to their needs and budget.
Outcomes: A Small Sites Approach for Migration and Redesign
Most of the content on the SIREN website is relatively straightforward and didn’t require major restructuring. By taking a simplified approach that emphasized changes to several key pages and incorporating new design elements, we gave the site a more modern and updated look and feel without requiring a wholesale rethink of every page type. For smaller sites like this one, this approach can work wonders!
By focusing on the home page, resource library, (new) Coffee & Science podcast, and the News section, we were able to give SIREN a lot of value for the money. For page templates that weren't redesigned, the addition of new iconography, updates to the color scheme and other styles gave those pages a refresh without impacting the budget.
Figure: Old SIREN homepage with three separate "resource" headings
Figure: New SIREN site with updates to imagery, featured content, and simplified navigation
As the SIREN Network initiative grew, so did content and navigation, which had expanded out of a desire to expose more of that content directly through major navigation headings. This redesign presented an ideal opportunity to streamline the information architecture while still emphasizing access to SIREN’s priority content. We did this by providing strong design cues and prominent imagery for featured content and thereby reducing the need to have the navigation take on all the work of exposing content that might be nested as a subpage.
Figure: Old resource page with multiple "resource" navigation labels; where should users go?
Figure: New Resource Library provides updated visual treatment to better direct users to key content. All interaction with resources are done via the single Evidence & Resource Library heading.
SIREN at UCSF has now migrated to Drupal 8 with a new design and UX that emphasized changes to priority content areas and streamlined navigation. The project approach is especially suited to smaller sites that are in need of a rethink; sites that have grown organically but now need a modest restructuring of content and design.