A Well RESEARCHED Sitecore Microsite

About researchED

“CfBT Education Trust” is an international non-profit provider of education services that have worked in more than 80 countries around the world. The organisation employ more than 3,300 staff worldwide whose mission is to improve education to advance the lives of learners. “ResearchED”, a teacher-led partner organisation of CfBT, provides an online platform dedicated to progressing educational research.  

The Project

 

ResearchED required a new site which complimented the look and feel of the CfBT site whilst introducing different features and layouts to give the site its own identity. Working with their design partners 3chillies were able to construct a website which met both the client’s design and functionality requirements flawlessly.

The client’s previous website suffered from limited functionality, so when the time came to redesign the researchED website, the choice of content management system (CMS) was to be reconsidered. The larger CfBT corporate website was already running in Sitecore’s CMS, therefore offering a natural solution for the new website under the same Sitecore license agreement. Not only did this integration offer good cost savings, but it allowed researchED to share the same core functionalities and editorial experience as the main CfBT site.

During a meeting to gather initial requirements, it was mentioned that CfBT had already partially built a microsite template in Sitecore. 3chillies suggested that they could re-use this capability rather than starting from scratch in order to save the client time and money. After being selected as the most appropriate agency to complete the launch, the development team at 3chillies were able to faultlessly build upon the inherited coding, a process which can encounter difficulties.

A new dynamic calendar was built in response to client demands which allows website visitors to scroll through previous and upcoming calendar months, and click into individual events, presenting the ability to view event information that was formerly unavailable or difficult to access.

The magazine functionality delivers interesting functionality. Using cutting edge technology 3chillies were able to build a system which fluently displays links to selected items and pages in an eye-catching tiled layout. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this feature is the site’s ability to redesign its own layout so that the uniform spacing between each tile is automatically reconfigured, eliminating any need for cropping images, spacing titles, or aligning elements.

ResearchED wanted to give their website visitors the opportunity to interact with the organisation. One simplistic method of achieving just that is through the introduction of an open comments section below their news articles. Building a comments section from scratch would have been an inefficient use of time given the constraints brought on by a strict deadline. Instead, 3chillies researched the most powerful 3rd party modules offering this functionality, and were able to fully integrate and configure the “Disqus” module within a much shorter period of time.

Video content is an important aspect to every good website. ResearchED have a large database of video files ready to be explored, and the newly designed video deposit undoubtedly provides a more engaging end-user experience.

 

cfbt homepage screenshot

Testimonial


"As part of a new partnership between CfBT Education Trust and researchED we set out to develop a new microsite for the researchED community, updating their tired-looking site in order to create a hub for events, articles, news and resources. The site needed to contain elements of both CfBT's and researchED's brand - to reflect the partnership - and needed to fulfil a number of different roles. These were: acting as a repository for videos; an information source for the events that researchED holds; and a place where teachers (researchED's primary audience) could read interesting and informative articles and take part in discussions. The site also needed to be built on time (in advance of the large annual researchED conference) and to a strict budget.

Good reviews by word of mouth meant we invited 3chillies, amongst a small number of other developers, to tender for the microsite and after meeting with them, and hearing their ideas for the site, as well as their familiarity with our preferred CMS, we felt happy asking them to undertake the work.

The outcome of the researchED site was all that we could have hoped for. As well as a lively and dynamic interface the site fulfils the brief in every way, with a number of innovative solutions employed in order to make content accessible and attractive. In particular the 'magazine' feature of the site goes beyond what we were able to envisage and represents a real focal point.

Overall, working with 3chillies has been an absolute pleasure - always quick to respond to a query or issue, they have been accommodating of our needs and went above and beyond in the final few days of the build/test phase in order to get the site ready for its strict deadline."

Dr Alex Elwick, CfBT Education Trust

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